UPDATE: Easley Soldier's Funeral Will Be Sunday
Three Guardsmen killed in suicide bomber attack last Wednesday.
UPDATED: 3:23, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2012.
An Easley soldier killed in Afghanistan last week will be laid to rest Sunday.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford “Brad” Thomas was killed in a suicide bomber attack on June 20.
Two other soldiers from South Carolina were killed in the attack and five other soldiers were injured in the attack.
Funeral services for Thomas will be 2:30 PM Sunday at Rock Springs Baptist Church with Rev. Andy Childs and Rev. Dr. David Gallamore officiating. Burial, with military honors, will follow at Nine Forks Baptist Church Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 6:00 until 8:00 PM Saturday at Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that memorial contributions be made to the Cayden Thomas Educational Fund, c/o Bank of America, 6091 Calhoun Memorial Highway, Easley, SC 29642 or to the Wounded Warriors Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.robinsonfuneralhomes.com or in person at Robinson Funeral Home, which is assiting the family.
ORIGINAL 5:45 p.m., Thursday, June 21, 2012
The sister of an Easley Army Guardsman killed Wednesday described her brother as a “true American hero who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
“He was a tremendous person,” Tia Thomas said of her brother, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford Thomas, 30.
Thomas was killed along with 1st Lt. Ryan Davis Rawl, 30, of Lexington and Spc. John David Meador II, 36, of Columbia, in Khost City, Khost Province, Afghanistan, when their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. Five South Carolina National Guard soldiers were also wounded during the attack.
All eight soldiers are assigned to the 133rd Military Police Company, headquartered in Timmonsville
“He was warm and loving and he always went out of his way to help a friend in need or even a stranger in need,” Tia said.
Thomas had served in the military for 10 years.
The mission of the 133rd MP Company in Afghanistan is to train members of the Afghan Uniformed Police in Khowst Province. The unit deployed 170 soldiers to Afghanistan in November 2011. The 133rd MP Company is scheduled to return home this August.
Serving in the military was always of goal of Thomas', Tia said.
“He was one of those who joined after 9/11,” she said. “He wanted to do his part for his country.”
This was his second deployment, Tia said.
He was first deployed to Guantanamo Bay. He arrived in Afghanistan with his unit in November and was set to come home in September, Tia said.
“He was on the last leg of his tour,” she said.
Thomas leaves behind his wife, Jana and a 2-year-old son, Cayden, Tia said.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced for Thomas. Tia said the family hoped to have Thomas' body home Monday, following an autopsy.
Tia said she wanted to let the world know that soldiers “do sacrifice everything.”
“They sacrifice time with their loved ones, time away from home,” she said. “And some of them have to sacrifice their lives.”