BROOKFIELD, Wis. — The Green Beret who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan this week grew up in the Milwaukee area.
Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson, 28, died Tuesday while on foot patrol clearing improvised explosive devices in the southern province of Helmand, the Defense Department said.
Thompson’s family lives in Brookfield, where he graduated from Brookfield Central High School in 2006. He studied at Marquette University in Milwaukee and completed his degree at Concordia University in Irvine, California, which the Defense Department listed as his hometown. He enlisted in 2011 and was assigned to a Special Forces group based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
His wife, Rachel Thompson, told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee that they met at Concordia and married five years ago. They were living in Fort Lewis, Washington.
She said she last spoke with him Sunday night.
“I was crying because I was nervous. I hadn’t been sleeping because I was anxious. I knew that where he was at was dangerous that what they were doing was different. I didn’t know what was going on. I was afraid and he would just listen and tell me he loved me and it was going to be OK,” she said.
While it was Thompson’s first deployment to Afghanistan, he previously served in Iraq.
“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,” Lt. Col. Kevin M. Trujillo, commander of the Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
Thompson was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with a V for valor, and Purple Heart, the Army said.
Brookfield Lutheran Church created a Go Fund Me page to help Thompson’s parents, Mark and Lynda, and his sisters, Karen and Robyn, who traveled to Delaware to receive Thompson’s body. Funeral services will be in Fort Lewis.
“Their hearts are broken, they’re aching,” Rev. Robert Mrosko said of the family to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When the family found out it was Matt, their son, who died, our congregation has been in constant motion reaching out, caring for and providing support for the family.”