The Army on Wednesday identified the soldier killed in a Tuesday improvised explosive device blast in Afghanistan as SSgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28, of Irvine, Calif. Thompson was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces group (Airborne) at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. He was killed and another soldier injured when an IED hit their patrol near Lashkar Gar, NATO announced. Six more Afghan soldiers were injured in the blast. This was Thompson’s first deployment to Afghanistan; he had previously deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Army announced. Thompson was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and the Purple Heart.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.