Staff Sgt. Matthew Vail Thompson, 28, died on August 23rd 2016, from an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was deployed in support of Operation Resolute Support.
Matthew Thompson was born on June 22nd, 1988 in Minneapolis, Minn. He graduated as an honor student from Brookfield Central High School in 2006. While attending high school, Matthew competed in football and pole vault.
Following high school, he attended Concordia University in Irvine, Calif. where he was a competitive swimmer for three years and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theological Studies. After graduating from college, Matthew traveled to East Africa and helped start a non-profit organization for homeless boys in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
SSG Thompson enlisted in the Army in March, 2011. Upon completion of Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, he immediately attended Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. He then attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course in October, 2011 at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Matthew was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course and graduated as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant in June, 2014. In August, 2014, Matthew was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. and served as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant on SFODA 1312.
SSG Thompson deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve on December 8th, 2014 where he advised and trained Iraqi Security Forces Soldiers. His efforts greatly enhanced the medical competency and readiness of U.S. coalition partners. Upon redeployment, SSG Thompson dedicated himself to the medical readiness and training of SFODA 1312. He deployed with his team a second time to Afghanistan on June 15th, 2016. SSG Thompson gave his life bringing security and freedom to Afghans residing in Chianjir Village within Helmand Province.
SSG Thompson’s military education includes the Special Forces Qualification Course, the Special Operations Combat Medic Course, the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Course, the Advanced Leader Course, the Basic Leader Course, Basic Airborne Course, the Combat Lifesavers Course, and Combatives Level 1.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Medal.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor device, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
SSG Thompson is survived by his wife, Rachel, his parents, Mark and Lynda Thompson, and his sisters, Robyn and Karen.