LEXINGTON, SC, USA U.S. Army SPC, C COMPANY, 391ST ENGR BN, SPARTANBURG, SC 29301 BAGHDAD, IRAQ 06/09/2004
A 20-year-old Lexington man has become at least the 17th South Carolina soldier killed in the war in Iraq.
Specialist Thomas Caughman’s family said the Lexington High School graduate knew the risks when he joined the Army Reserves last fall. But he thought it was more important to defend America, his great-uncle Raymond Caughman said.
Thomas Caughman died Wednesday when the armored vehicle in which he was riding was hit with an explosive device near Baghdad, Raymond Caughman said.
“He just had a desire to join. He went to Midlands Tech for a year and then decided to join,” his great-aunt Elizabeth Caughman said Thursday. “He was a good boy.”
Thomas Caughman helped escort officers around the city, Raymond Caughman said. The family did not know if anyone else was injured or killed in the incident. Thomas Caughman was a member of the Army Reserve’s 458th Engineering Battalion and was shipped overseas in February, according to his family.
Raymond Caughman says his nephew loved to hunt and fish and volunteered at Red Bank Baptist Church, where his grandfather was once pastor. The military told Thomas Caughman’s parents about his death Thursday.
“The officers and the chaplain were at their house at 6 o’clock this morning,” Elizabeth Caughman said.
Word of Caughman’s death spread quickly. A number of relatives live close to each other in homes east of Lexington.
Being that close-knit makes his death hit even harder. “We’d see him every day,” Raymond Caughman said.
Thomas Caughman leaves behind his parents and his sister, a rising senior at Lexington High School.
He also leaves behind a great-aunt and uncle proud of his sacrifice.
“He actually just wanted to serve his country,” Elizabeth Caughman said.
“Yep, he wanted to serve his country,” Raymond Caughman added.