Monday, April 21, 2008

Marine 1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandegrift

Remember Our Heroes

Marine 1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandegrift, 28, of Littleton, Colo.

1st Lt. Vandegrift was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died April 21, 2008 in Basra, Iraq, from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations.

Marine 1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandegrift remembered
The Associated Press

Growing up in Texas, Matthew R. Vandegrift was the kid in the middle of the rock fight, the one who dropped a cat out a second-story window to see if it really would land on its feet, and the one who put the emergency brake on a car that was rolling down a hill after he saw it in a James Bond movie.

“He was never the guy to start the fight,” said his brother, Barrett. “But he was always the one to finish it.”

Vandegrift, 28, of Littleton, Colo., died April 21 from wounds sustained during combat in Basra. He was a 2003 graduate of Texas A&M, where he was part of the school’s Midshipmen Battalion NROTC program, and was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

Vandegrift fulfilled a lifelong desire to serve his country and to follow in the footsteps of his father, who served in the Marine Corps from 1963 to 1971. “That boy thought I hung the moon,” said his father, John Vandegrift. “It’s the proudest thing I can claim.”

Mary Jane Vandegrift described her son as a charismatic child who grew into a caring man, someone who was determined to better the lives of those around him.

“He was the perfect kid,” she said. “One in a million.”

Marine 1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandegrift was killed in action on 4/21/08.

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