National Guard in Timmonsville honors three fallen soldiers

First Lieutenant Ryan Rawl

Soldiers with the 133rd Military Police Company gathered for a memorial dedication at their headquarters in Timmonsville Friday afternoon in honor of their three fallen comrades.

Sergeant John Meador, II, Sergeant First Class Matthew Thomas and First Lieutenant Ryan Rawl were killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on June 20.

Many of the soldiers remember that day like it happened just yesterday.

"I was actually the second squad that responded to the incident. Once you got on scene, it was a lot going on, a lot to take in. Just seeing your buddies in the back of the trucks laying down - knowing they're not coming back to you," said SFC Alex Woodberry.

Soldiers gave a special salute to their fallen heroes during the playing of Taps, moving the families of the soldiers to tears.

"He was doing like what he felt he needed to do. He volunteered. He wanted to go and he felt like he didn't want everybody else fighting and he couldn't help them," said John Meador.

The memorial sits outside the Timmonsville Armory - engraved with the names of the three soldiers.

"I thank God for my son," Meador said, "and for the fact that he gave his life for his country and for what he believed in."

The families say they will forever treasure this memorial that honors their loved ones' sacrifice.

"This is only a small token that we can do to honor them," SFC Woodberry said. "You know, it's a lot more that you can say and that you can do, but this is just a small token. They've done so much for this country and also for us."

This was the first public service the South Carolina National Guard has held for the soldiers.