Thode, from Farmington, NM, was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while leading soldiers on an operation. He served as the platoon sergeant.
Two other soldiers from the local company were injured in the same attack. They are expected to make a full recovery. The military refuses to provide the names of those injured or any operational details.
The death of Thode is a devastating loss to the men he led, to those with whom he worked and to the wife and two children that he leaves behind. He was known as an inspiration to all who knew him.
Thode had more than 20 years of military service, including a previous deployment to Iraq with the 1457th Engineers of Blanding in 2003.
He was a 14-year veteran of the Farmington, NM police department, joining the department in 1996 and working as a field training officer and a member of the SWAT team. In 2009, he was honored by the department as the Supervisor of the Year.
Tentative funeral services were initially set for Wednesday, December 8 in Farmington.
The sapper unit provides route-clearing missions to support coalition forces in Afghanistan. The sapper unit deployed to Afghanistan in July. They are expected to return after a 12-month deployment.
Thode is the sixth Utah National Guard soldier killed in action since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. In addition, he is the third serviceman from San Juan County to be killed in action in the Middle East.
Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, of Blanding, was killed on September 6, 2004. The Marine was killed in a car bomb attack near Fallujah, Iraq.
Sgt 1st Class Nathan Winder, of Blanding, was killed in Iraq on June 26, 2007. He served as a Special Forces Medic in the U.S. Army.
A fund for Thode’s family has been set up at any Wells Fargo Bank.