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      Flags at half-staff in memory of fallen SC Guardsmen

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - Flags around Columbia are being flown at half-staff in memory of the three fallen South Carolina Guardsmen.

      From sunup to sundown, flags will be at half-staff by order of Gov. Nikki Haley until Sunday to honor the soldiers killed in Afghanistan last Wednesday.

      1st Lt. Ryan Rawl of Lexington, Sgt. First Class Matthew Thomas of Easley and Sgt. John Meador of Columbia were killed Wednesday by a suicide bomber Khowst City, Khowst Province, Afghanistan. Five other South Carolina National Guard soldiers were also wounded in the attack. Sgt. Meador was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

      Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin asked that flags on all city buildings be flown at half-staff Friday, June 22 to honor the soldiers last week.

      â??Through their courage and sacrifice, these brave souls represent our highest traditions of service and leadership,â?? Mayor Benjamin said. â??These men are heroes and we ask that all the people of Columbia keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.â??

      The soldiers are assigned to the 51st Military Police Battalion, based in Florence. They served with the 133rd Military Police Company, headquartered in Timmonsville.

      Lt. Rawl and Sgt. Meader returned to South Carolina Thursday Morning. Sgt. First Class Thomas will return separately.