Thursday, January 31, 2008

Army Spc. Matthew F. Straughter

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Matthew F. Straughter, 27, of St. Charles, Mo.

Spc. Straughter was assigned to the 1138th Engineer Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, Missouri National Guard, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; died Jan. 31, 2008 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Mo. guardsman dies in Iraq

By Betsy Taylor
The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — An Army specialist with the Missouri National Guard died after his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, the military said Monday.

Matthew Straughter, 27, of Belleville, Ill., died Thursday in Baghdad from his wounds. He enlisted while living in St. Charles, Mo., and was assigned to the 1138th Engineer Company, 35th Engineer Brigade.

Several families with ties to the National Guard learned of Straughter’s death Saturday, when they gathered at Mineral Area College in eastern Missouri for a support gathering for military families.

They expected to have a video teleconference with their loved ones currently serving in Iraq, but a technical problem prevented it from taking place.

Capt. Tamara Spicer said the news of Straughter’s death was delivered in person to the families there by a chaplain’s candidate. While it’s never easy to relay news of a death, she said the military believed word was delivered in a comforting way. Straughter’s family was notified separately and not in attendance at the gathering.

The Park Hills Daily Journal reported Straughter and his wife have five children, and that he was part of the group that left Farmington, Mo., on July 21. A family member declined comment to The Associated Press Monday.

Straughter joined the Missouri Army National Guard as a combat engineer in December 2005 and mobilized last July.

His unit located improvised explosive devices and maintained traffic flow along military supply routes. Straughter served on Operation Jump Start, the border security mission in Arizona from November of 2006 to last June 2007.

The Missouri National Guard said funeral arrangements are pending.

Army Spc. Matthew F. Straughter was killed in action on 1/31/08.

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