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US Identifies Green Beret Killed in Action in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28, of Irvine, California, died Aug. 23, 2016, of wounds received from an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Army photo)
Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28, of Irvine, California, died Aug. 23, 2016, of wounds received from an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Army photo)

The U.S. Defense Department has identified the soldier killed in action on Tuesday in Afghanistan as Army Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson.

Thompson, 28, of Irvine, California, was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, the Pentagon announced in a release Wednesday.

The Special Forces soldier was on his first deployment to Afghanistan, according to the Army. He had previously deployed to Iraq.

"He was an exceptional Green Beret, a cherished teammate, and devoted husband," Lt. Col. Kevin M. Trujillo, commander of Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, said in a statement. "His service in Afghanistan and Iraq speak to his level of dedication, courage, and commitment to something greater than himself."

In a separate statement, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, said the Centcom family "is deeply affected by the death ... On behalf of the men and women of U.S. Central Command, I extend our sincere condolences to the family, friends and Sgt. Thompson's fellow service members, as well as gratitude for his selfless and honorable service to our Nation."

Thompson was killed when a roadside bomb, also known as an improvised explosive device, or IED, detonated near his patrol while he was conducting dismounted operations with Afghan forces on Aug. 23 in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. Another American service member was injured in the attack near Lashkar Gar, along with six Afghan soldiers, according to a statement from the NATO-led mission in the country.

The attack, which remains under investigation, came a day after the U.S. military announced it sent 100 troops to the defense of Lashkar Gah, the capital of embattled Helmand province that's in danger of falling to the Taliban.

It marked the second combat death this year of a U.S. service member in Afghanistan. Both fatalities occurred in Helmand province and less than 30 miles apart. Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, 30, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), based in Buckley, Washington, was killed Jan. 5, during an extended firefight in Marjah, Afghanistan.

A total of eight coalition troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, including six Americans and two Romanians, according to NATO and the website iCasualties.org, which tracks military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Half of those killed in country died from non-hostile actions.

Thompson enlisted in the Army in March 2011 as a Special Forces candidate, according to the Army. He reported to 1st Special Forces Group as a medical sergeant in August 2014 after completing the necessary training and coursework, the service said.

His awards and decorations 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 (No. 2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Basic Parachutist Badge and Special Forces Tab, according to the Army.

Thompson was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal with V device, and Purple Heart Medal, the service said.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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