UPDATE @ 1:40 p.m.
The father of a Kettering soldier killed in Afghanistan said his son knew the risks of war but was driven to become an Army Ranger.
“We had talks about the possibility of losing his life and he always said that he’d rather die defending his country and defending his family then dying in a car accident or cancer,” said Andre L. Thomas, 58, Rixeyville, Va.
The Pentagon has raised the possibility Army Ranger Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas and another soldier died in a friendly fire incident during the raid. Andre Thomas, an Air Force veteran once stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said he bore no animosity however his son died in combat in a raid against ISIS.
“He knew what he was facing and there was confusion,” he said. “This happens. As far as us, we have no animosity or anything against anyone. If it happened, it happened and war is awful. I hate it and I wish we didn’t have it.”
UPDATE @ 12:45 p.m. (April 28)
According to the Pentagon, the two Army Rangers killed in Afghanistan, one of which was a Kettering graduate, may have died as a result of friendly fire.
An investigation is currently underway to to determine if they were killed by Afghan commandos or other American forces.
UPDATE @ 12:15 p.m. (April 28)
The Army Special Forces released additional information regarding Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas of Kettering, who was killed this week in Afghanistan.
Thomas was an Anti-Armor Specialist assigned to Company D, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga. He was on his third deployment to Afghanistan.
Thomas was born in Colorado but his hometown was Kettering, Ohio where he enlisted in the army in February 2012.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
Thomas has also been awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal.
UPDATE @ 11:04 a.m. (April 28)
The Department of Defense confirms the death of Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, in Afghanistan this week.
Also killed was Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois.
The Dept. of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. They died April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations, according to a release.
Both soldiers were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga. The incident is under investigation.
One of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan this week is believed to be a 2012 Kettering Fairmont High School graduate.
Several social media posts expressed condolences and sadness about the death of Cameron Thomas, a U.S. Army Ranger.
A Facebook message read: “Rest in Peace Cameron Thomas. You are a hero and will truly be missed.”
A tweet read: “RIP Cameron Thomas an Army Ranger from Kettering that was KIA in Afghanistan last night. Thank you for everything you have done for us.”
Kettering City Schools spokeswoman Kari Basson confirmed Thomas was a Fairmont grad and said tonight that district administrators were just finding out about his death.
Department of Defense officials indicated they will release the names and hometowns of the soldiers sometime Friday.
Fairmont Principal Tyler Alexander said he has not received official notification, but students have been talking about Thomas and staff have asked him about the alum.
“I have had nothing official come to me from the family,” Alexander said. “I would offer my condolences to the family.”
While in high school, Thomas was an athlete, notably a swimmer.
“It’s sad,” the principal said. “But we respect what he chose to do to fight for our country, to provide us with an opportunity to have what we have.”
The Military Times is reporting that according to U.S. military officials, the soldiers were killed and a third was wounded while battling Islamic State loyalists in eastern Afghanistan.
This brings to three the number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan this year, according to the Military Times.
The soldiers were taking part in a lengthy raid supported by airstrikes from U.S. warplanes and targeting the Islamic State group in Nangarhar province, Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Associated Press.
A number of Islamic State fighters have been engaging in a long-running battle with Afghanistan security forces in the Achin district.
(Dayton Daily News reporters Lynn Hulsey and Barrie Barber and News Center 7 reporter Kate Bartley contributed to this report written by Breaking News Staff Writer Jen Balduf)
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