Winterville Based National Guardsman Laid To Rest

Dozens of people lined the streets in Wilmington Friday as a horse-drawn carriage carried a member of the Winterville based National Guard killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

People were wearing red, white and blue and held flags to pay their respects during the funeral procession for Sergeant Thomas J. Butler the Fourth.

The crowd of supporters moved up and down Market Street as Sgt. Butler's funeral procession went from the funeral home, to the First Baptist Church, and finally to the national cemetery.

Butler, 25, grew up in Pender County and was one of three National Guard members killed from North Carolina.

A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in Khost, Afghanistan.

Butler joined the guard in 2007 and was on his first combat deployment.

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

A funeral service for Staff Sgt. Donna R. Johnson of Raeford is scheduled for Saturday. Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison of Browns Summit was buried Thursday.

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