Ryan Rawl (Source: Richland County Sheriff's Department)
John Meador (L) and his family in 2011.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
Three members of the South Carolina Army National Guard serving in Afghanistan died Wednesday due to an apparent suicide bombing.
1st Lt. Ryan Davis Rawl, 30, of Lexington, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford Thomas, 30, of Easley and Spc. John David Meador II, 36, of Columbia, were killed in Khowst City, Khowst Province, Afghanistan when their patrol was attacked by the bomber. The Department of Defense said the unit also came under small arms fire. Five other South Carolina National Guard soldiers were also wounded.
All eight soldiers are assigned to the 133rd Military Police Company from Timmonsville. The unit was in Afghanistan to train members of the Afghan Uniformed Police. The unit deployed 170 soldiers to Afghanistan in November 2011. The rest of the unit is expected back home in August.
Details are beginning to surface about the lives the three men led back home in South Carolina.
On Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Leon Lott identified Lt. Rawl as a sheriff's deputy who went on leave to join the National Guard. In a meeting with Lott, Rawl told the sheriff, "I feel that it is my duty to serve my country."
"I think Ryan is an example of the men and women that wear the uniform -- not only the sheriff's department, but the military -- that go out here every single day, either here in Richland County or somewhere else in a foreign country and put their life on the line," Lott said. "He is an example of the people that we've got that stand tall for America and stand tall for all of us.
Rawl joined the sheriff's department in 2005 after graduating from the Citadel in 2004. Lott said Ryan first worked as a patrol deputy and then became a school resource officer at Crayton Middle School.
Spc. Meador worked with a Lowe's store in the area doing woodwork. He was also a 1994 graduate from Lexington High School.
Olin Black, Meador's neighbor, described him as an "A-OK fella."
"He loved the military, loved the Guard, and wanted to go to Afghanistan to do his part for the United States," Black said. "He wanted to go."
Friends say Rawl and Meador were best friends.
Meador leaves behind a wife and three children and Rawl is survived by a wife and two children.
Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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