Pickard, 21, of Palestine, Texas, was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He leaves behind his wife, Sara, and son, Ethan.
"I extend my sincere condolences to Private Pickard's family, friends and fellow soldiers," Gov. Palin said. "All Alaskans owe Heath a debt of gratitude for his courageous service to our nation. Todd and I continue to pray for the safe return of all who serve overseas."