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Army Sgt. David W. Thomas

Died June 27, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

40, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 27 in Asadabad, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Eric B. Shaw.

Served in Navy, Marines before joining Army

The Associated Press

David Thomas quit the military after working for a time as a recruiter — he had a hard time whenever he found out a young man he’d recruited had been killed in action overseas.

“I think that bothered him a lot,” said his sister, Donna Butler. But after so many years in the armed forces, he got the itch again.

“He just loved military life. He tried civilian life, but it just wasn’t for him,” Butler said. Thomas was trying to hit the 20-year mark before he finally retired.

But the 40-year-old Army specialist from St. Petersburg, Fla., was killed June 27 when insurgents attacked his unit. He was assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky.

His mother, Mary Thomas, said the loving father loved to play with his children — two sons, two daughters and a stepson.

David Thomas had first served in the Navy for about three years, signing up a week after he graduated from high school. A few years later, he joined the Marines and served three tours in Iraq.

Thomas often called and e-mailed to check in on his family and always was careful about what he said so they wouldn’t worry. He asked his wife to wish his mother a happy birthday in case he couldn’t call.

He tried to assure his sister: “I’m OK, sis. I’m OK.”

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