Jeremy Hardison Donna Johnson Thomas Butler NC National Guard - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Three NC National Guard soldiers killed in Afghanistan

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Butler is pictured with his wife Holly and their son, Thomas Jefferson Butler V. (Source: Facebook) Butler is pictured with his wife Holly and their son, Thomas Jefferson Butler V. (Source: Facebook)
TJ Butler was killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Facebook) TJ Butler was killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan. (Source: Facebook)
Sgt. Thomas J. Buter, of Wilmington, arrives at Dover AFB in Delware on Tuesday. Sgt. Thomas J. Buter, of Wilmington, arrives at Dover AFB in Delware on Tuesday.
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Three soldiers from the N.C. National Guard were killed while serving overseas in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Air Force announced the names of the three killed in action on Tuesday.

Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, of Maysville, Staff Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, of Raeford, and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler, of Wilmington, were killed while conducting operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

They died Oct. 1 in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. The soldiers were assigned to the 514th Military Police Company, 60th Troop Command, Winterville, NC.

WBTV's sister station in Wilmington learned more information about Sgt. Thomas J. Butler.

Thomas Jefferson Butler IV, who many knew as TJ, had only been in Afghanistan for a little more than two weeks when he was killed by a suicide bomber, according to his family.

Butler went through the Pender County School system and graduated from Topsail High before going into the military. He graduated from Topsail High in 2006.

His high school coach, Bill White,  praised Butler as a stand-out person. "It was like a gut punch this morning about 10:00 when I found out about it, but all I have are fond memories of TJ, just sunshine everyday," said White.

Family members said that Butler had been serving his country for about four years.

They said he wanted to be a police officer since he was a little kid. They also said he was dedicated to his school work and played almost every sport while in school.

Butler leaves behind his wife, Holly, and their 6-month-old baby, who was named after Butler.

Family members said this November would have marked his fourth wedding anniversary.

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