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Fallen Fort Mill Marine was ‘a true leader’

Jul 8, 2011 5:18:00 PM - thestate.com
A Fort Mill family is mourning the loss of a son, husband, brother, father and best friend who died in Afghanistan earlier this week.

Robyn Dudley, the mother of 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Thomas Joseph Dudley, said Marine Corps officials told the family Thursday afternoon that her son had died.

The Marine died while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Known by family and friends as “T.J.,” the Fort Mill High School graduate was on his sixth overseas deployment, assisting with combat operations overseas, said Ryan Smith, his best friend and fellow Marine Gunnery sergeant.

The oldest of four siblings, Dudley was “an inspiration” to everyone, Smith said.

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