Meridian soldier killed in Afghanistan

May 6, 2013 

PROVIDED BY THE FAMILY OF THOMAS MURACH

EL PASO, Texas — The family of Spc. Thomas Paige Murach remembers him as a lover and teller of dumb jokes.

“We were always amused not so much by the joke itself, but by Tom’s reaction to telling the jokes,” his family said in a statement Monday. “He would laugh his head off! We called him ‘Spanky,’ originally as a joke, but Tom came to embrace his nickname.”

Murach, 22, was one of five soldiers killed Saturday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb blast in Maiwand, Afghanistan.

In addition to many aunts, uncles and cousins, he’s survived by his mother, Mary; father, Chet; and brothers Nick, William and Mike.

Murach is at least the 69th Idahoan to die as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent U.S. military actions.

An Army statement Monday identified the other soldiers killed in the Saturday blast as Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19, of Mercedes, Texas; 1st Lt. Brandon James Landrum, 26, of Lawton, Okla.; Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips IV, 28, of Meridian, N.Y.; and Spc. Brandon Joseph Prescott, 24, of Bend, Ore. The five were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

“Tom was a wonderful, outgoing man who lived his life to the fullest,” his family’s statement said. “We couldn’t imagine that anybody could meet him and not like him.”

Murach was “passionate about everything he did,” be it video games, movies or working out. But he was most passionate about spending time with his friends, his family said.

“Tom loved being an Army infantryman and he never complained about the difficulty of his duties. He believed in the mission the Army performs, and he saw the value of that mission and the impact he was making in Afghanistan.”

His family said Murach was a devout Christian and “knew he could trust God’s plan for him.”

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