Slape was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered U.S. and N.C. flags to be lowered to half staff Tuesday in honor of Slape.
His family released the following statement: "We, the family and friends of North Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. James Slape, would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. There are no words to express how much we miss James already. He was a loving husband, a devoted son and a true hero to his country."
Slape's mother and father also added: "We have always been proud of our son, and have always told him that he was capable of becoming anything that he set his mind to. This is what he chose, and this is where he knew he needed to be. We love him and he will always be a part of us."
Slape was assigned to N.C. Army National Guard's 60th Troop Command, 430th Explosive Ordnance Company, based in Washington, N.C.
"We are deeply saddened by the news of Sgt. James Slape losing his life while serving our Country,' said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard. "We honor his courage, his selfless service and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and fellow Soldiers as we hold them firmly in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time."
Slape's unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support, in April 2018. The unit is scheduled to return to the U.S. in the spring of 2019.
"National Guard members step up and answer the call to service wherever they are needed, whether at home to help during a natural disaster or overseas to protect our national security," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. "They leave their homes, their families and their jobs and put their lives on the line for us. On behalf of the people of North Carolina, I honor the service and sacrifice of Sgt. James Slape and offer our deepest sympathy to his loved ones and his fellow soldiers."
Slape joined the North Carolina National Guard in 2013 and graduated from the Explosive Ordnance School as an Explosive Ordnance Specialist in 2015.
Slape is the 26th North Carolina Army National Guard Soldier to be killed in action, since September 11, 2001.
National Guard members step up and answer the call to service wherever they are needed, whether at home to help during a natural disaster or overseas to protect our national security. They leave their homes, their families and their jobs and put their lives on the line for us.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) October 7, 2018