Screaming Eagles Through Time
Spc. Thomas Arthur Foley III


Dresden, Tennessee
Killed April 14, 2003

Spc. Thomas Arthur Foley III

101st Airborne soldier from Dresden killed in Iraq

By RUSS OATES Associated Press Writer
April 15, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- A Tennessee soldier was killed Monday when a grenade exploded inside his vehicle in Iraq, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Spc. Thomas Arthur Foley III, of Dresden, was one of two soldiers killed in the explosion. Two others were wounded, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command.

The Foley family knew few details of the 23-year-old's death. The Army told the family of the death late Monday and attributed it to friendly fire, said his grandmother, Anita Courtney of Dresden.

Also killed in the explosion was Pfc. John E. Brown, 21, of Troy, Ala., military officials said. Both men were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The regiment is part of the 101st Airborne Division, which is based at Fort Campbell, Ky., about 50 miles northwest of Nashville.

The U.S. Central Command statement said two soldiers were killed and two more injured in an "apparent accidental detonation of a grenade while they were performing maintenance on a vehicle in a checkpoint south of Baghdad."

Foley's relatives said the Army is trying to locate his 22-year-old brother, David Foley, who also is serving in Iraq.

"They're supposed to be looking for him," Courtney said through tears.

Thomas Foley and his wife, Paulette, who had been married for about a year and a half, have a 6-month-old son, relatives said.

Foley's stepfather, Brian Darden, spoke to reporters Tuesday because Foley's mother was too upset to do so. He said his stepson wanted to be a teacher but could not afford to go to college after graduating from Dresden High School in 1999.

"The Army flashed dollar signs in their faces ... they jumped at it," Darden said of his stepsons.

Courtney said people have been stopping by her house bringing food and condolences as word of Foley's death spreads through this small town about 70 miles west of Fort Campbell in rural northwest Tennessee.

"You couldn't believe the outpouring we've had all day long," she said.

Courtney said Foley was "so vivacious" and "always doing something." His stepfather described him in similar terms.

"Tommy enjoyed life to fullest. He was a good Christian boy ... his life was cut short, Tommy won't be able to be anything now," Darden said.

Page created: 21 Apr 03