Hometown: Boaz, AL
Awards: Purple Heart, ARCOM w/ Valor, ARCOM, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge.
Qualifications: Airborne (Parachutist Badge), Combat Infantry Badge, Combatives Instructor with Level I, II and III qualifications.
Theater: Operation Enduring Freedom 09-10, Operation Cobra Gold 11
Matthew grew up in the small, Northeast Alabama town of Boaz, AL where he excelled in football, baseball, basketball and track. Matthew lettered Varsity 4 years in all sports. Matthew also learned to hunt, fish and trap at a young age. Matthew’s father would spend most weekends in-between sports taking Matthew on hunting and fishing adventures throughout the Southeast. After high school, Matthew signed an athletic scholarship to play football and baseball in college. A motorcycle wreck, breaking his leg in two places ended his collegiate career. After healing from the wreck, Matthew entered the Army at the age of 20, going through Army Infantry Basic Training School. After graduating from infantry school, Matthew attended the coveted US Army Airborne School. Matthew then moved on to complete the US Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection course. Matthew was then assigned to the 3/509 Airborne Infantry in Anchorage, AK. Matthew deployed with his unit to the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in the East Paktika Province. Matthew became team leader of the weapons squad and engaged in many close combat firefights. Matthew was involved in the Battle of the 4th of July when his Company was attacked by over 350 combatant enemies. Able CO 3/509 was able to fight off the enemy with only approximately 100 soldiers in Able Co. Matthew would finish the year long deployment despite being wounded in October of 2009 when he was gunning the rear vehicle providing security for another element. Matthew was hit in close proximity to an RPG and received shrapnel to his hands and arms as well as a traumatic brain injury. Matthew finished his time in the Army as a weapons squad team leader and acting squad leader as well as being the unit combatives instructor.