By Dean Stephens
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A former Citadel cadet was one of three SC National Guardsmen killed Wednesday in Afghanistan.
30-year-old 2nd Lt. Ryan Rawl, a 2004 Citadel graduate, was killed by a suicide bomber in the eastern part of Afghanistan. According to The Associated Press, the blast also killed 17 Afghans.
The blast claimed the lives of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford Thomas, 30, of Easley and Spc. John David Meador II, 36, of Columbia, SC.
After graduating from the Citadel in 2004, 2nd Lt. Rawl was hired by the Richland County Sheriff's in 2005. His guard unit was activated in 2011.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Rawl will be greatly missed within the department.
"As a deputy, Rawl was willing to stand up to protect and serve; it was with that same pride he did so in his military uniform. He was an example to men and women who wear the uniform everywhere; he was an example to those who put their lives on the line everyday. Deputy Rawl stood tall with the department; he stood tall as an American," Sheriff Lott said.
In his senior year at The Citadel, Rawl was awarded the Mark W. Clark Honor Committee Award for Exemplary Service for making the greatest contribution to the honor system throughout the year.
Five SC National Guard soldiers were also wounded in the blast.
The men were assigned to the 133rd Military Police Company out of Timmonsville, SC. The unit trains members of the Afghan Uniformed Police in the Khowst Province.
2nd Lt. Ryan Rawl was from Lexington, SC and also worked as a school resource officer at Creighton Middle School in Columbia. He is survived by his wife and two children.