U.S. military officials on Wednesday identified the American serviceman killed in a roadside bomb attack as an Army Green Beret from Orange County.
Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28, of Irvine, died Tuesday while advising Afghan forces on patrol in southern Afghanistan. Six Afghan soldiers and an American were also wounded when their vehicle struck the roadside bomb while on patrol near the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.
Thompson was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. It was his first deployment to Afghanistan, but he had previously deployed to Iraq in support of the current battle against Islamic State.
“He was an exceptional Green Beret, a cherished teammate, and devoted husband,” Lt. Col. Kevin M. Trujillo, commander of special operations task force in 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.”
The Army said Thompson enlisted in March 2011 as a special forces candidate and reported to 1st Special Forces Group as a medical sergeant in August 2014.
In addition to more than a dozen awards Thompson earned throughout his military career, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, expressed gratitude for Thompson’s “selfless and honorable service” and extended condolences to his family.
There are currently about 9,800 U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan to help local forces in their fight against the Taliban. The U.S. has maintained an advisory and backup role, delivering airstrikes, training and financial support to proxy ground forces.
Thompson’s was the second U.S. combat death in Afghanistan this year, as a resurgent Taliban mounts offensives in southern Helmand province and elsewhere in Afghanistan. In January, Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock was killed in a battle alongside Afghan commandos in Helmand’s Marjah district.