Special Forces Officer Killed by Afghan Interpreter
A Special Forces officer from Pinehurst who died last week in Afghanistan was shot by an Afghan interpreter, according to the Army.
The interpreter, who was said to be a civilian resident of the United States working for the Army, became angry during a dispute with Capt. David J. Thompson, 39, and Spc. Marc P. Decoteau, 19, over pay and the quality of his work and opened fire, the military said. Another U.S. soldier shot and killed the interpreter.
The incident was reported Saturday by Reuters, but no names were released at that time. The Department of Defense (DOD) reported the deaths of Thompson and Decoteau on Tuesday in a press release. It happened in the Wardak Province.
"The incident is still under investigation," the DOD release said. It did not mention the dispute, the interpreter or the shooting.
But late Thursday afternoon, in a telephone interview, Lt. Col. Mark Wright, DOD public information officer, confirmed to The Pilot that Thompson and Decoteau were the two soldiers the irate interpreter killed.
Finding fluent interpreters has been a continuing concern to the military. Afghan interpreters can pose a security risk, as enemies sometimes try to plant spies and even suicide bombers in interpreter positions, according to the military.
The Army has a hard time finding American citizens who can speak Dari, a common Afghan language, well enough. Often interpreters are infuriated when faced with losing the job and being sent back, according to military reports.
Thompson is survived by his wife, Emily, and their two daughters, Isabelle and Abigail. His parents, Charles and Freida Thompson, live in Hinton, Okla.
The two girls attend Episcopal Day School in Southern Pines, where a private memorial service took place Tuesday morning.
A funeral service at Grace Church will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday. Another private service will be held for the family and his unit in the Special Forces Chapel at Fort Bragg. He will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
This was Thompson's second deployment to Afghanistan, according to the Army.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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