The Pentagon has identified the soldier who died in Syria Monday of wounds sustained from a non-combat incident.
The cause of death has not been released and the incident remains under investigation, according to the Defense Department. Thomason’s death is the third non-combat fatality in the Iraq and Syria area of operations this month.
Thomason, 28, was an infantryman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, according to division spokesman Lt. Col. Martin L. O’Donnell.
Thomason was originally from Lincoln Park, Michigan, and enlisted in the Army in December 2017.
“The entire Bastogne brigade is heartbroken over Michael’s loss," said Col. Derek Thomson, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team.
“He lived a warrior’s life, and he died in the service of his country. Michael’s memory will live on as part of the legacy of the 101st Airborne Division, as will our commitment to his family and to our mission," the brigade commander said.
Thomason’s deployment to Syria was his first, O’Donnell added.
His awards and decorations include two Army Commendation Medals, one of which has a "C" device for combat, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal.
Thomason was promoted to the rank of private first class in December 2018.
U.S. and coalition forces have liberated more than 20,000 square miles of previously held ISIS territory in Syria alone. The last holdout of ISIS fighters was eliminated in March, but U.S. troops remain needed in the region in order to prevent a resurgence of the group, according to the Pentagon.
Late last year, President Donald Trump called for the drawdown of U.S. forces in the country. Since then, the White House has said it will keep a small force of roughly 200 troops in Syria in order to help the mostly Kurdish partner forces stabilize the region.
Seven American service members have died while supporting the Inherent Resolve mission this year — two of whom died during a suicide bombing in Manbij, northern Syria.
Two other Americans, a DoD civilian and a contractor, died in that attack.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.