Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson, 28, was killed by a roadside IED Tuesday, while on patrol in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province.
Thompson was an Iraq war veteran on his first deployment to Afghanistan. Reports indicate an additional U.S. service member, along with six Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the blast.
Thompson enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2011 as a special forces candidate, and proceeded through three years of grueling training to earn his position in the 1st Special Forces Group as a Special Forces medical sergeant.
“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,” his commander, Army Lt. Col. Kevin Trujillo told the U.S. Army Public Affairs office. Trujillo elaborated “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 death is a reminder of the enduring U.S. role in Afghanistan. The U.S. is engaged in a “train, advise, and assist mission” with the Afghan Defense Forces against extremist groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State.
“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,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in a statement after the blast.
The day of Thompson’s death, the U.S. announced it was sending 100 additional U.S. troops to Helmand province to prevent the loss of its capital city, Lashkar Gah. Hundreds of NATO troops died in Helmand province during the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan from 2001-2014, and it was the site of President Barack Obama’s first major foreign policy decision in 2010.
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