Monday, June 23, 2008

Army Pfc. Bryan M. Thomas

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Bryan M. Thomas, 22, of Lake Charles, La.

Pfc. Thomas was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; died June 23, 2008 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained in Salman Pak, Iraq, when his patrol encountered small arms fire during combat operations. Also killed was Capt. Gregory T. Dalessio.

Family, friends mourn soldier’s passing
The Associated Press

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Hundreds gathered Wednesday at the New Emmanuel Baptist Church to pay tribute to Army Pfc. Bryan M. Thomas, who was killed by small arms fire in Salman Pak, Iraq last month.

Rev. Roland E. Mouton Jr. praised 22-year-old Thomas’s bravery.

“He knew the chances that were there,” Mouton said. “He could’ve made some bad choices like others his age, but he lived for something.”

Mouton said Thomas always stayed true to his Christian beliefs.

“I count Bryan as a double soldier,” he said. “He was not just a soldier in the Army, but he was a soldier for God.”

State Rep. A.B. Franklin, Mayor Randy Roach and City Councilman Rodney Geyen issued proclamations honoring Thomas’ service to his country. Franklin said he was a long-time friend of Thomas’ family.

“This is so hard for everyone in the community,” he said. “I pray that God comforts everyone who was affected by this.”

Roach said Thomas’ death is a reminder of just how much men and women in uniform sacrifice.

Mouton, at the end of the service, gave a word of comfort for those who thought Thomas’ life was cut too short.

“It’s not how long you live, it’s about how well you live,” he said. “In 22 years, Bryan captured the hearts of all of us in here.”

About 200 people were on hand Tuesday for a motorcade memorial in remembrance of Thomas, who was killed June 23 about 15 miles south of Baghdad. Capt. Gregory T. Dalessio, 30, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was also killed in the attack.

Thomas was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division based in Baumholder, Germany. He received several military honors, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Good Conduct Medal.

Following Wednesday’s service, Thomas was buried at Community Cemetery in DeQuincy.

Army Pfc. Bryan M. Thomas was killed in action on 6/23/08.

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