EL PASO, Texas — Military officials say five Fort Bliss soldiers have died in a roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan.
The soldiers were on a mounted patrol near a combat post when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Maiwand District in Kandahar Province on May 4, 2013. The explosion happened around 1:30 p.m. local time.
An Army statement Monday identified the dead as Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19, of Mercedes, Texas; 1st Lt. Brandon James Landrum, 26, of Lawton, Oklahoma; Spc. Thomas Paige Murach, 22, of Meridian, Idaho; Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips IV, 28, of Meridian, New York; and Spc. Brandon Joseph Prescott, 24, of Bend, Oregon
They served in the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
The family of Specialist Murach of Meridian released the following statement. "Tom was a wonderful, outgoing man who lived his life to the fullest. He was very gregarious and kind, and was always quick with a laugh and a smile for friends and acquaintances alike. We couldn’t imagine that anybody could meet him and not like him."
The statement went on to say, "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. But he also looked forward to becoming a civilian again after his Army service. Tom was a devout Christian, and he knew he could trust God’s plan for him. We take great comfort in knowing Tom felt this way, and that his life ending at such a young age is a part of that plan."
Specialist Murach leaves behind his mother, father, three brothers, and a large extended family.
In another incident, a 30-year-old soldier from San Antonio died Wednesday after an April 27 roadside bombing in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Michael H. Simpson died at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. He served with 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.