Matthew Vail “Tito” Thompson was born on June 22, 1988 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. He attended Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin and graduated in 2006. “During his senior year he was varsity football captain and also played trombone in the wind ensemble and jazz band during his four years” stated the Elmbrook School District. Thompson transferred from Maruqette University in Wisconsin to Concordia University in Irvine, CA in 2008. He graduated in December 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Theological Studies. While at Concordia, he met Rachel Beyer and they married on March 25, 2011.
Thompson enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 2011 as a Special Forces Candidate. Upon completion of his training, he reported to the 1st Special Forces Group as a Special Forces medical sergeant in August 2014. His first deployment was to Afghanistan. He also served in Iraq in Operation Inherent Resolve. Thompson was assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
On Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 Thompson was on foot patrol in a joint U.S.-Afghan Patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. This operation included support of the U.S., Afghan government and NATO to focus on “train, advise and assist, as well as counter-terrorism.” Thompson was hit by an IED (improvised explosive device), and passed away from his injuries. Another U.S. service member was injured, along with six Afghan soldiers. Lt. Col. Kevin M. Trujillo, commander of Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan stated the following about Thompson: “He was an exceptional Green Beret, a cherished teammate, and devoted husband. His service in Afghanistan and Iraq speaks to his level of dedication, courage, and commitment to something greater than himself."
Thompson is survived by his wife Rachel, his parents Mark and Lynda, and his sisters Karen and Robyn.
Awarded Medals: Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (No. 2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Basic Parachutist Badge and Special Forces Tab, according to the Army. Thompson was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal with V device, and Purple Heart Medal.