Easley soldier dies of injuries in Afghan attack

jwilkinson@thestate.comApril 22, 2013 

— Pfc. Barrett L. Austin of Easley died Sunday in a hospital in Germany after he was wounded in Afghanistan, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The 20-year-old suffered his wounds April 17 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Wardak Province, according to the release. He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Ga.

He is the second soldier from Easley killed in Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford Thomas, 30, of Easley, died June 20, 2012, when a suicide bomber attacked his patrol at a checkpoint in Khost. He was assigned to the S.C. National Guard’s 133rd Military Police Company, Timmonsville.

Media reports and Facebook posts said Austin’s wife and parents were present at the hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, when he died

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Austin was described as “a wonderful young man” who was “so full of life and very proud to have the honor of serving his country” in a statement from staffers at the Sunburst Salon and Spa in Easley, which Austin’s mother owns.

Austin had wanted to join the Army since he graduated from Pickens High School two years ago, a spokeswoman for the Sunburst Salon and Spa in Easley.

“We’re like family here,” said a receptionist at the salon, who asked not to be identified and her comments attributed to the salon staff as a whole. “He was like a little brother to us.”

There have been 64 members of the U.S. military with S.C. ties who have died in Iraq; 46 have died in Afghanistan.

The Greenville News contributed.

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