The Gold Star standard

Kim Elle, executive director of Augusta Warrior Project, holds a flag given to her in memory of her father, Air Force Capt. Ted G. Sweeting, who was killed in a military plane crash in 1971. Photographed in Augusta, Ga., Friday afternoon October 27, 2017. MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF

EDITOR’S NOTE: Threatened to be lost in the recent controversy involving President Trump and Gold Star families is the sacrifice fallen service members made to the country. Augusta Chronicle reporters Nefeteria Brewster and Amanda King talked to family members of five such heroes who have local ties to let them tell the stories of their loved ones.

 

-- Theresa Thigpen lost her husband Master Sgt.Thomas Thigpen in 2003 in Kuwait during the buildup to Operation Iraqi Freedom. | PROFILE

-- Cindy Guthrie’s brother, Kenneth Nichols Jr., was killed in 2009 in Afghanistan. | PROFILE​

-- Kim Elle’s father, Air Force Capt. Ted Sweeting, who served two tours in Vietnam, was killed in a 1971 plane crash while stationed in Holland. | PROFILE​

-- Quamisha Nelson’s husband, Spc. Joshua N. Nelson, was among four soldiers killed in 2012 by Afghan soldiers being trained by the U.S. | PROFILE​

-- Neal and Lucy Dillon lost their son, Cpl. Matthew Dillon, in 2006 in Iraq. | PROFILE​

When Theresa Thigpen asked her husband why he extended his military service so he could go with his battalion to Kuwait, he said they needed him. It was a response worthy of those who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“That’s what they sign up for,” she said about the mentality of service members. “That’s the ultimate act for a soldier.”

READ MORE: Previous coverage of soldiers with local ties lost to war

 

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