Jared William Day grew up in the Salt Lake City area and joined the Navy in 2002 "because he loved his country, the people who live here, and the freedoms we all have," his family said.
The 28-year-old Navy SEAL had participated in multiple missions around the world, and was an Information Systems Technician First Class, a family statement said.
"He was truly special, not only to our family, but to this country," his family said. "Jared's memory will live in our hearts forever."
His family also described him as being "determined with a fierce sense of humor."
Day rose to become an elite member of a Naval Special Warfare unit where he served as tactical commander.
Day's family attended a ceremony for the soldiers earlier this week at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where they were given a few minutes with President Barack Obama.