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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is among three American soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday.

Sgt. Thomas J. Butler, known as T.J., was killed in action. His body will arrive back in the United States tonight.

According to his Facebook page, Butler joined the Army in 2008. He was a graduate of Topsail High School and attended Cape Fear Community College.

Butler leaves behind his wife Holly and their young son also named Thomas.

Butler and the other soldiers died when a suicide bomber walked into a crowded market in the city of Khost in eastern Afghanistan. That Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

We tried to contact the Butler family, but we were unable to reach anyone. A friend of the family told WWAY the Butlers were in Delaware to receive his body at Dover Air Force Base.

The friend said Butler was in Afghanistan for 11 days when he died.

There’s no word yet on funeral arrangements.

“We are still grieving for these Soldiers, their families and their unit members still carrying on with their mission,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Lusk, adjutant general of North Carolina and commander of the nearly 12,000 men and women of the North Carolina National Guard. “They were the embodiment of citizen Soldiers who put everything on hold to go in harm’s way for all of us. They will be remembered and sorely missed.”

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