Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Three South Carolina Army National Guard soldiers are dead following an attack by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
They are identified as 1st Lt. Ryan Rawl of Lexington, Spc. John Meador of Columbia, and Sgt. First Class Matthew Thomas of Easley. Five guardsman were wounded in the attack. All eight were serving with the 133rd Military Police Co., based in Timmonsville.
Lt. Rawl served with the South Carolina National Guard. He also worked with the Richland County Sheriff's Department. He went to Lexington High and The Citadel. He and his wife have two young children.
Sheriff Leon Lott says Lt. Rawl worked with the sheriff's department since 2005, working first as a patrol deputy and then became a school resource officer at Crayton Middle School.
"Throughout this past school year, even though he was deployed, he would come and visit and check in with the faculty and staff and some students. I know he stayed in touch while he was gone, he was very much loved by the students and the staff," said Crayton Principal Susan Childs.
Sheriff Lott released a statement describing Rawl. It reads in part "He was an example to men and women who wear the uniform everywhere; he was an example to those who put their lives on the line everyday. Deputy Rawl stood tall with the department; he stood tall as an American."
Rawl's unit was activated in 2001 and he was scheduled to return home in September.