Monday, August 17, 2009

Army Spc. Matthew D. Hastings

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Matthew D. Hastings, 23, of Claremore, Okla.

Spc. Hastings was assigned to the 582nd Medical Logistics Company, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, Texas; died Aug. 17, 2009 in Baghdad of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.

Tulsa World -- Friends and family of Spc. Matthew D. Hastings say they are devastated by the death of the Claremore soldier, who was killed Monday in Baghdad, Iraq, in a noncombat-related incident.

But in describing the brief life he lived and the passion with which he lived it, they did so with an unmistakable sense of pride and gratitude.

“He was just an all-American kid,” his mother, Lawanda Lowry, said Thursday night. “He was so proud to be in the Army and he was so proud to serve our country.”

Hastings, 23, joined the military in August 2006 as a light-wheel vehicle mechanic. In 2007, he was assigned to the 582nd Medical Logistics Company, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, Texas.

Lowry said joining the military was the best thing her son ever did.

“He called me when he was graduating from basic training and said, ‘Mom, I have accomplished far more and greater things than I ever thought possible,’” Lowry said.

But it wasn’t easy. Lowry said her son, who was first deployed to Iraq in December 2008, saw a lot of his friends die serving their country.

“That was really hard on Matt,” Lowry said.

The military is still investigating the circumstances of Hastings’ death. It did not release any details in a news release announcing his death on Thursday.

Lowry said she also was waiting to hear specifics from military officials.

Kristy Moore said her longtime friend loved to hunt and fish, but that it was the company of his friends and family that brought Hastings the most joy.

“He just loved to be surrounded by friends and family,” Moore said.

Hastings’ tour of duty in Iraq began in December 2008 and he returned home for about two weeks in April, Moore said. It was precious time spent with friends and family.

“When he walked into a room everybody liked him,” Moore said. “He was an amazing human being.”

Lowry said her son graduated from Broken Arrow Alternative Academy in 2005 and that like most kids, he had his share of bumps in the road.

But the military helped change that.

“He loved the structure of it,” Lowry said. “He loved the honor of it.”

Hastings received several awards and decorations, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

In addition to his mother, Hastings is survived by his stepfather, Roger Lowry, both of Coweta; his father, Clark Hastings Jr. of Arkansas; his sister, Michelle Brazil of Claremore; his maternal grandparents, Wanda and Vernon Cline of Pryor; and his paternal grandfather, Clark W. Hastings of Jacksonville, Ark. A brother, Clark Hastings III, preceded him in death.

Army Spc. Matthew D. Hastings was killed in a non-combat related incident on 8/17/09.

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