The Department of Defense has identified Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, a Green Beret, as the U.S. service member killed on Tuesday when an IED exploded near his patrol during a mission training Afghan forces.
Staff Sgt. Thompson, 28, was conducting dismounted operations when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, injuring him as well another American service member, along with six Afghan soldiers according to the DOD. Thompson died as a result of his injuries.
Thompson was involved in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan, but had previously served in Iraq supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, according to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Thompson enlisted as a Special Forces Candidate in the U.S. Army in March 2011.
“He was an exceptional Green Beret, a cherished teammate, and devoted husband. His service in Afghanistan and Iraq speak to his level of dedication, courage, and commitment to something greater than himself,” said Lt. Col. Kevin M. Trujillo, commander of Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan, in a statement. “The Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan will honor his memory and sacrifice and his passing is a tremendous loss to all who were blessed to know him.”
Thompson’s extensive list of awards and declarations, according to the U.S. Army, include: the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (numeral 2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Basic Parachutist Badge and Special Forces Tab. He received the the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal with V device, and Purple Heart Medal (posthumously).
In a statement issued after the explosion, but before Thompson’s identity was revealed, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter issued the following statement:
I was deeply saddened to learn one of our service members was killed today and another wounded while engaged in our mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces. Six Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the IED blast. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the service member killed and all those injured. This tragic event in Helmand province reminds us that Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and there is difficult work ahead even as Afghan forces continue to make progress in securing their own country. We will continue to work closely with the government of Afghanistan and our NATO partners to bolster the capabilities of the ANDSF so they can provide the people of Afghanistan the peace they deserve.
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