Nils George Thompson
Private First Class, United States Army
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
August 7, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of one soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Private First Class Nils G. Thompson, 19, of Confluence, Pennsylvania, died Aug 4, 2005, in Mosul, Iraq, when he was struck by enemy fire while on a routine patrol at an Iraqi police station. Thompson was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Washington.
For further information related to this release,
contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Nils George Thompson was shot by a sniper in Iraq just one day after his 19th birthday.
Friends and family members gathered Saturday in West Brighton, where Thompson was remembered as a funny, loving, and faithful friend.
"I thank him with all my soul for my 18 years with Nils, a boy made a young man with the lightest and kindest heart I've ever known," said Thompson's cousin, Jeffrey Coogan. "He was always at the center of all our joy and fun and laughter in his brief time here."
The private first class was a native of New Brighton and lived there until his family moved to Pennsylvania in 2000.
Family members say Thompson had wanted to join the military since he was a very young boy.
He was on patrol with his brigade in Mosul when he was shot in the head and killed, just one day after his 19th birthday.
Two national guard members from New York City were also killed in Iraq this week.
Private First Class Hernando Rios of Queens died on August 8, 2005, in Baghdad after his Humvee was struck by two hand-made bombs. He was 29.
Brooklyn born Specialist Anthony Kalladeen was also killed during the attack. Kalladeen was 26.
Both men were members of the 69th Infantry,
based in New York City.
Nils G. Thompson, a Stryker brigade soldier based at Fort Lewis, was killed last week the day after his 19th birthday while on patrol in Mosul, Iraq, the Department of Defense reported Sunday.
Thompson was a private first class assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. He was shot and killed by enemy fire Thursday at a police station in Mosul, according to the defense department. He had turned 19 on Wednesday.
Thompson, who most recently lived in Confluence, Pennsylvania, was inspired to join the military by his relatives who served, said his mother, Frances, in an interview with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“He knew since he was a little boy that being in the military was all he wanted,” she said. He never wavered.”
Thompson lived in Staten Island, New York, until his family moved to rural Pennsylvania in 2000. He graduated from high school last year, and joined the Army in August 2004, as soon as he turned 18.
The Army deployed Thompson to Iraq five months ago.
He phoned home every week, and sent relatives upbeat letters and e-mails.
“He never said anything negative,” Frances told the newspaper. “All he did was call and encourage me."
An Army chaplain told Thompson’s family that he spent his free time in Iraq reading the Bible and freely discussed his Catholic religion with his fellow soldiers. Thompson planned to return to his parents’ 100-acre farm after he completed his time with the Army.
His family is planning a memorial service in Staten Island. They hope to bury him in Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.
In addition to his parents, Thompson is survived by his sister, Lily, 14.
Thompson was the 33rd service member from the
1st Brigade to be killed since it arrived in Iraq last October and the
63rd from Fort Lewis to die in the Iraq war.
A Pennsylvanian serving with Fort Lewis' Stryker Brigade in Iraq is among the latest casualties of war, killed Thursday in Iraq by a sniper -- a day after he turned 19.
Private First Class Nils G. Thompson of Confluence, Pennsylvania, died while patrolling at an Iraqi police station in Mosul. He served with the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, the Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis. Thompson was deployed five months ago.
The brigade, named for its eight-wheeled infantry vehicles, is slated to begin returning next month after serving a year as the mainstay of combat operations in northern Iraq.
Thompson is the 103rd member of the armed forces based or residing in Washington to perish in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Nationally, more than 1,800 men and women in uniform have been killed there.
Thompson is the 33rd soldier with the 25th Division's Stryker Brigade to be killed in Iraq since the unit deployed last fall. At least 15 of the brigade's war dead were members of its 24th "Deuce Four" Regiment.
According to The Associated Press, Thompson was a deeply religious Roman Catholic who regularly read his Bible and discussed religion if others asked.
Having met one of his life's goals to serve his country, Thompson planned to return home to work on his parents' 100-acre farm in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Thompson lived most of his life in Staten Island, New York. When he was 13, his parents, Nils M. and Frances Thompson, became intent on escaping big-city life and moved to Confluence in 2000.
Thompson's family told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he adapted easily to farm life, helping his father post fences and tending to cattle and sheep. Thompson graduated from Turkeyfoot High School in June 2004. He joined the Army that August as soon as he turned 18.
His family by then, however, did not share his enthusiasm for military life.
"The war was on, and we were afraid," Frances Thompson told the newspaper. "But we all stood behind him and supported him."
Thompson often phoned home from Iraq but never complained, instead calming his mom's fears, she recalled.
In addition to his parents, Thompson is survived by his 14-year-old sister, Lily.
Family members plan a memorial service on Staten Island but hope to bury Thompson at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.
his is the eulogy that my father, Clifford Thompson, wrote for his grandson, Nils Thompson
To all our friends and relations gathered here today, we thank you for your comfort and sharing this moment to praise our “fallen hero,” Nils George Thompson.
To those who knew Nils as a young lad he will be remembered fondly as a gentle, loyal and trustworthy friend and companion. A champion for the weak, a friend of the down trodden. To all he was polite, respectful, giving and unpretentious. An Angel?
Webster defines an Angel as a messenger of God; supernatural, greater than human power; regarded as good, beautifully innocent. SEEMS TO FIT.
Nils was given a mission to perform a special service. God blessed him with this talent which Nils honed each day reading the scriptures.
Armed with this talent and with his shy and innocent manner he infected us all with Gods love.
The family moved to Confluence, Pennsylvania, when Nils was a young man. Here he helped his parents maintain a 100- acre cattle farm and bed and breakfast facility named Hannah House. The chores included: building 3 miles of fence, baling hay for winter storage, barn maintenance etc. He shouldered these responsibilities willingly. Always with a smile.
For fun they built a tree house, fished, hunted and rode the mountain side with their ATV. Nils provided comic relief by imitating his father’s antics to the tearful delight of his mother and sister.
Nils’ career ambition was to serve his country and on his 18th birthday he joined the army. After boot camp and subsequent training, his unit was deployed to the city of Mosul in Iraq. He served with the First Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment.
When not on military missions he continued to build his faith by attending chapel services and reading his ever present Bible.
During his stay in Mosul, his sergeant learned of Nils’ poor penmanship and demanded he write a paragraph for him each day. Nils dutifully complied by taking excerpts from the Bible and presented them each day.
This went on for weeks and Nils didn’t know if the sergeant ever read these missiles. What a set up! I’m sure by now his sergeant has read every word.
After spending 5 months in Mosul, Nils’ habits of Bible reading and Chapel attendance became infectious.
On another occasion Nils requested a second Bible from the Chaplain to give to a fellow soldier infected by Nils’ mission. The following week Nils excitedly ran to the Chapel and advised that his friend had read the entire Old Testament except for the Psalms and Proverbs. ….the infection spreads.
On August 3, 2005, Nils celebrated his 19th birthday with his battalion buddies. The following day they were sent on another mission “outside the zone” and into the streets of Mosul.
Just another mission ..
Nils, unafraid, drew comfort from the Fourth Book of Psalms, #91, “HE SHALL COVER THEE WITH HIS FEATHERS AND UNDER HIS WINGS SHALT THOU TRUST. HIS TRUTH SHALL BE THY SHIELD AND BUCKLER.”
Nils was assigned to one of four Stryker vehicles that day and armed a rear turret. At 2PM Iraqi time Nils was shot and killed by a sniper.
The shield designed to protect the physical body failed. But the shield of Gods truth lifted his soul into the kingdom of heaven. Nils now serves with the Army of Christ.
His Chaplain grieved the fate of other soldiers killed in action not knowing their relationship with God. Now, as the Chaplain prepared for a Memorial Service, he is confident in telling this battalion EXACTLY where Nils resides right now.
Having received word of Nils’ death, our families gathered together at Confluence to comfort and support each other. The days following were consumed with a constant stream of well wishers wanting to share their experience of how Nils affected their lives.
This young man had touched so many—young and old. This seemingly endless procession included family members, school mates, teachers, employers, friends of the family, people of the cloth, bed & breakfast visitors. The list goes on and on.
The phone never stopped ringing. Battalion Chaplain, Sergeant, Commander and other army buddies all called with their condolences and gave testimony of their love and pride to serve with this young warrior.
How could a 19 year old boy touch so many?? Look around you. How many feel better today having known his presence? Is a lifetime measured in years or by the number of lives touched by his grace?
And so we have all been infected by this missionary with the shy smile and gentle manner.
The Lord has blessed my son and Frances with a boy—and they prepared him well for God’s special service.
THIS IS MY SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED
Photo Courtesy of Holly, October 2005