KIA May 27, 2003
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armor Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado
Army SGT Thomas Broomhead was killed on Memorial Day, May 27, 2003, in Fallujah, Iraq, when a vehicle pulled up and assailants opened fire while he was on guard at a checkpoint. Though he was mortally wounded, he refused immediate medical help so that he could continue to fight and rally the soldiers he swore to protect. Also killed during the attack was SSG Michael Quinn. SGT Broomhead had also served in the Marines during the Gulf War.
Tom was born in Ohio, but raised in Fort Myers, Florida. Upon graduation from high school, Tom decided to enlist in the Marines in 1989. After a four year tour with the Marine Corps, he enlisted in the Army with the hopes of becoming a helicopter pilot. “He liked it a lot,” said his wife, Kelli, “He was in it for the long haul.” Tom was an easy-going, passive man, likely to smile and joke his way out of a confrontation. Even if someone hit him, Tom refused to retaliate because he thought it was ridiculous and wouldn’t solve anything. Tom’s brothers, Mike and Bryan, said that Tom would have been uncomfortable in a hero’s spotlight. The closest he came to fame was the 1986 football game he quarterbacked against Fort Myers High School. About 10,000 people turned out to watch that game. “He never wanted to be in the limelight. He was happy to be a team player,” Mike said.
During Thomas’ funeral service, his brother, Mike, proclaimed proudly, “To U.S. troops serving overseas – we pray for you every day. We are proud of you, and we salute you… with faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we will get through this,” quoting the Bible passage of John 15:13—“Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.” He concluded, “There are 3 million Iraqi people who are celebrating freedom because of the brave men like my brother.” SGT Thomas Broomhead is survived by his mother, Rosemary; father, Robert; wife, Kelli; three sons, Jacob, Zachary, and Jason; and brothers, Mike and Bryan.
SGT Thomas Broomhead was 34 years old from Cannon City, Colorado
Original portrait was presented September 9, 2011 to his mother during a special event held in Phoenix, Arizona honoring the 10th anniversary of 9/11