SFC Matthew Sluss-Tiller
SFC Sluss-Tiller and two other soldiers were killed February 3 in a bomb blast outside of a school in Pakistan. According to NBC News, the three soldiers killed were part of a small unit who's main job is securing the Afghan border. SFC Matt Sluss-Tiller had previously deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Hannah, of Sanford; his father, Edward Tiller, of Sevierville, Tenn.; and mother and stepfather, Jane and Forest Blankenship, of Sanford.
He would have turned 36 on Valentine's Day, said his wife of 16 years. In his letters, he requested crayons and Play-Doh to give to children, she said.
"Matthew was my hero," his wife said. "He was a good man, loved the Army, loved everything about serving his country." The couple had known each other since eighth grade.
"He loved people," she said. "He had a heart of gold and would readily do anything for anybody. He was a great father. Matthew did a little bit of everything. He was active in our community; he was active on post. He loved life."
Sluss-Tiller had three years left until he was eligible to retire from the Army with benefits, she said. "My heart breaks," she said. "The military was a part of him. He didn't question serving his country."
He enlisted in the Army Reserve as a heavy construction mechanic in 1991. Two years later, he went on active duty as a signal specialist and served at Fort Bragg, Germany, and Kuwait. He was assigned to the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion in April and has served as a civil affairs noncommissioned officer in Civil-Military Operations Cell and most recently as a team sergeant of Civil Affairs Team 622.
Sluss-Tiller's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq Campaign Medals and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He was also awarded the Senior Parachutist's Badge, Gold Recruiter's Badge, and German Jump wings.