Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Jacob Thompson reported killed in Iraq

A soldier from North Mankato who was scheduled to return to the United States next month was killed in Iraq, his family said Tuesday.

Army Staff Sgt. Jacob Thompson, 26, and two other soldiers were killed Monday when a bomb exploded while they were searching a house in Baqubah, according to the soldier's father, Charlie Thompson. He said Jacob Thompson worked with a Stryker unit that searched out targets before calling in other forces.

Strykers are tank-like machines that are heavily equipped with electronics but have less fire power than tanks.

Thompson's first deployment to Iraq lasted from November 2004 to October 2005. He spent much of that time in urban combat missions in Mosul and suffered minor injuries in a bomb explosion.

This time around, he was slated to return to Fort Lewis near Tacoma, Wash., in May but his unit was one of several that were extended for three months to support a surge of U.S. troops in Iraq, his father said. Jacob Thompson told his family he would be traveling to Kuwait before returning to Fort Lewis around Sept. 13.

"I could tell he was concerned about Baqubah," Charlie Thompson said. "I honestly believe he was afraid something was coming just because of a lot of the things he said."

Jacob Thompson, who graduated from Mankato West High School in 1999, still lived at the home in which he grew up with his parents and two older brothers. He was an avid fisherman who fished close to home or in far off places like Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.

When he reenlisted for his second tour, Thompson and his parents knew he'd be in greater danger, his father said. "This might be the year we get the telephone call," Charlie Thompson recalled saying to his wife.

But his son was steadfast in his desire to return to Iraq.

In between tours, he brought back CDs with such images as soldiers playing with Iraqi children, children going to school and women running businesses. "He told us, 'Mom, Dad, you have no idea all the good that's happening,'" Thompson said.

Asked to describe the pride he felt toward his son, Thompson said: "He's my hero."

From the Examiner