Saturday, July 17, 2010

Army Sgt. Matthew W. Weikert

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Matthew W. Weikert, 29, of Jacksonville, Ill.

Sgt. Weikert was assigned to 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died July 17, 2010 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Wrapped in the treasured Army blanket his father gave him, 10-year-old Jayse Schaecher Weikert spoke proudly and lovingly of his dad.

“The soldiers who served with him respected him a lot,” he said. “There were even people with higher ranks who respected my dad.”

Sgt. Matthew W. Weikert, 29, of Jacksonville died July 17 in Paktika province in Afghanistan of wounds suffered when his patrol struck a land mine, according to the U.S. Department of Defense and officials at Fort Campbell, Ky.

“He loved all of his soldiers,” said Megan Schaecher, Jayse’s mother. “This job was such a passion for him. I know that he felt it was his duty to be over there so all of the children today would live in peace and never be called to war.”

Weikert served with the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division.

Before joining the Army, Weikert served three tours of duty in Iraq with the Marine Corps, according to Schaecher. He served a fourth tour in Iraq with the Army before going to Afghanistan.

Weikert’s son recalled the competitive, confident nature of his father.

He remembered a basketball game of P-I-G the two of them played last fall at his paternal grandparents’ house and how his dad made an amazing shot.

“It was like the best thing we ever did,” Jayse Schaecher Weikert said. “I don’t think a professional could have done it.”

Weikert’s son said he and his father played all sports in the yard and video games, such as “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.”

He also recalled swimming in Lake Michigan with his father and digging their feet in the sand.

“He was nice and I loved him,” Weikert’s young son said. “He was athletic and would always try and beat me. We challenged each other.”

Jayse Schaecher Weikert last saw his father about Feb. 1, just before he left for Fort Campbell, Ky., and deployment to Afghanistan.

“He took me to McDonald’s and then we played PlayStation 3,” Weikert’s son recalled. “I hugged him and said goodbye and he went to Fort Campbell.”

Weikert’s son said he will always remember the confidence his father had and the “I’m Awesome” tattoo emblazoned on his left arm.

“Matt was everything,” Megan Schaecher said. “He was a great man, father, son, friend, brother, but most of all, a great soldier. I feel I’m so lucky to get a little reminder of how much he meant to me and everyone else, which is our son, Jayse.

“Our son loved his dad with everything, and Jayse is surrounded with great family and friends that will keep his daddy alive for him.”

Weikert, a 2000 graduate of Jacksonville High School, is the son of Richard W. and Susan B. Weikert of Jacksonville.

“I loved Matt,” Megan Schaecher said. “We all did. He was an American hero. It’s too bad that we lost Matt so young. We are going to get through it and keep his memory alive and help other people adjust to tragedies. My heart goes out to my son and Matt’s family.”

Weikert’s awards and decorations include: Combat Action Ribbon Navy/Marine; Presidential Unit Citation Navy/Marine; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Army Good Conduct Medal; Marine Corp Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Navy Reserve Sea Service with 2 Stars; NATO Medal; Combat Infantry Badge; Combat Action Badge; and Weapons Qualification: M4, expert.

Army Sgt. Matthew W. Weikert was killed in action on 7/17/10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful comments for a man who apparently was wonderful. I just came across this posting and read about him. I am so sorry for the loss to family and friends who knew and loved him. Thank you to all who have sacrificed and those who will in the future. God Bless!

Bob Carley