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Soldier from Meridian killed in Afghanistan

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A 22-year-old southwestern Idaho man was among five soldiers killed over the weekend in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan. Specialist Thomas Paige Murach of Meridian died Saturday in Maiwand in southern Afghanistan, not far from the border with Pakistan. Military officials say Murach was among five soldiers from Fort Bliss in Texas serving in the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division who died in the attack. Murach died alongside Spc. Kevin Cardoza of Mercedes, Texas; 1st Lieutenant Brandon James Landrum of Lawton, Okla.; Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips the Fourth of Meridian, N.Y.; and Spc. Brandon Joseph Prescott of Bend, Ore. Murach's family members issued a statement Monday after the announcement, saying Murach was “passionate about everything he did,” and saying, “Tom loved being an Army infantryman and he never complained about the difficulty of his duties. He believed in the mission the Army performs, and he saw the value of that mission and the impact he was making in Afghanistan.” 

Click below for a full report from the Idaho Statesman via the AP.


Meridian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

EL PASO, Texas — The family of Spc. Thomas Paige Murach remembers him as a lover and teller of dumb jokes.

“We were always amused not so much by the joke itself, but by Tom’s reaction to telling the jokes,” his family said in a statement Monday. “He would laugh his head off! We called him ‘Spanky,’ originally as a joke, but Tom came to embrace his nickname.”

Murach, 22, was one of five soldiers killed Saturday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb blast in Maiwand, Afghanistan.

In addition to many aunts, uncles and cousins, he’s survived by his mother, Mary; father, Chet; and brothers Nick, William and Mike.

Murach is at least the 69th Idahoan to die as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent U.S. military actions.

An Army statement Monday identified the other soldiers killed in the Saturday blast as Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19, of Mercedes, Texas; 1st Lt. Brandon James Landrum, 26, of Lawton, Okla.; Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips IV, 28, of Meridian, N.Y.; and Spc. Brandon Joseph Prescott, 24, of Bend, Ore. The five were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

“Tom was a wonderful, outgoing man who lived his life to the fullest,” his family’s statement said. “We couldn’t imagine that anybody could meet him and not like him.”

Murach was “passionate about everything he did,” be it video games, movies or working out. But he was most passionate about spending time with his friends, his family said.

“Tom loved being an Army infantryman and he never complained about the difficulty of his duties. He believed in the mission the Army performs, and he saw the value of that mission and the impact he was making in Afghanistan.”

His family said Murach was a devout Christian and “knew he could trust God’s plan for him.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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