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devildog-64012 08-09-2009 08:57 AM

CAPT Matthew C. Freeman, 29, Richmond Hill, GA (Afghanistan)
DOD NEWS RELEASE No. 594-09 Dated August 09, 2009

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Capt. Matthew C. Freeman, 29, of Richmond Hill, Ga., died Aug. 7 while supporting combat operations in Kapisa province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the III Marine Expeditionary Force/Marine Corps Bases Japan public affairs office at 011-81-611-745-0790 or e-mail them at

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cmyr 08-10-2009 08:32 AM

Jamie Parker, Bryan County Now

U.S. Marine Corps pilot Capt. Matt Freeman, 29, of Richmond Hill has been killed in Afghanistan, his father, Gary Freeman, said Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, the Department of Defense had not released the circumstances surrounding his death.

"He was a proud Marine, doing what he wanted to do," Gary Freeman said Friday afternoon. "He was a true patriot. He loved his mother, his family and his fiancee, Theresa Hess."

Matt Freeman was a graduate of Richmond Hill High School and the second generation of his family to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. His father also graduated from the academy and was a career Naval pilot.

cmyr 08-12-2009 06:09 AM

Barton: Capt. Freeman comes home
Tom Barton | Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 12:30 am

If you're on the road today, show proper respect for a slain Marine being transported home to Richmond Hill.

Savannah does military homecomings quite well. That's to be expected, given the frequent deployments in recent years of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division at nearby Fort Stewart.

But war cuts both ways.

Some hearts soar when the wheels of a military transport plane touch down on the tarmac; others remain leaden.

Today is a time to acknowledge one family's heavy burden.

Marine Capt. Matt Freeman of Richmond Hill gave his life for his country last Friday in Afghanistan. While the details about what happened remain sketchy, what's clear is that the 29-year-old pilot was doing exactly what he wanted with his life.

Not everyone can say that.

"He was a proud Marine," his father Gary Freeman told this newspaper last week. "He was a true patriot. He loved his mother, his family and his fiancee, Theresa Hess."

This afternoon, his countrymen have an opportunity to show their appreciation and affection.

According to a military spokesman late Tuesday, the body of Capt. Freeman is expected to arrive in Savannah around 3 p.m., via the Savannah International Airport and the Georgia Air Naitonal Guard 165th Airlift Wing based here.

Troopers from the Georgia State Patrol will escort his body from the 165th Airlift Wing facility off Dean Forest Road to a funeral home in Richmond Hill.

Savannah-area motorists are notorious about not showing proper respect for funeral motorcades. While today's procession isn't a funeral, I hope that drivers who are on the road will pull to the side as these vehicles pass.

Indeed, some flashing of headlights or honking of horns would seem appropriate as outward signs of gratitude.

Meanwhile, blogger Howard Spiva posted two related items. One asked people to stand along Dean Forest Road south of the 165th Airlift Wing entrance today between 3:20 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They were urged to bring flags and wear red.

The second post called for people to line Ga. 144 in Richmond Hill when the motorcade hits that town south of Savannah.

No time was listed. Unfortunately, it was unclear whether troopers would escort the slain Marine south on U.S. 17 or I-95. That may be determined Wednesday morning.

Still, if you happen to be in these neighborhoods or on those highways, look for the blue lights.

Otherwise, remember to say a prayer for the graduate of Richmond Hill High School and U.S. Naval Academy and others who have died serving this country.

Their homecomings command attention, too.

Tom Barton is the editorial page editor of the Savannah Morning News.

devildog-64012 08-31-2009 03:58 PM

More about Captain Freeman from the Washington Post on 30 Aug.
A Heroic Death, Without the Headlines

By Scene And Heard

The Washington Post
Sunday, August 30, 2009

Marine Capt. Matthew Freeman made his last trip across the U.S. Naval Academy in the company of friends the other day.
Yes, there were admirals and generals, colonels and majors, captains of the Navy and the Marines among the hundreds who joined him. But there are moments when the strictures of rank are loosened by the greater bond of brotherhood. This was one of them.
Four thousand and seventy-four days had passed since Matt arrived here as a kid, had his head shaved and was sworn in as a Navy midshipman. Two thousand six hundred and fifty-one days had gone by since he hurled his hat into the air at graduation and became a Marine. It had been 47 days since he married Theresa, his high school sweetheart, and 34 days since he headed to Afghanistan.
And it was just 19 days after he led his men onto a rooftop that provided the only high ground in a nasty firefight with the Taliban in a hamlet in a rugged, desolate northeastern province.

The morning he came back to the Naval Academy was a Wednesday, but it will stick in your memory as the day you heard that Ted Kennedy had died and the week when you learned that someone might have killed Michael Jackson. The politician and the entertainer of their generations, they were lionized by many and scorned by some. One pleaded guilty, the other was found innocent. But they each died with an indelible asterisk, a footnote to their legacies that time will not erase.

Matt Freeman died clean.

His life and death played out that sunny morning in the chapel at the Academy and as the long cortege made its way on foot across the Yard to what would be his final resting place. The words they found for him were devotion to his Maker, loyalty beyond what most men possess and grim courage in the end. Marine sentries in dress blue snapped into salute as he passed. There was a band. Flags flew.
Nine days earlier, when his body came home to a small town in Georgia, three creeks south of Savannah, people lined the route, waving paper flags. Children drew signs of tribute on cardboard. Mothers cried. You can find it all on the Internet, of course. All that, and a lot more about how he lived and how he died. You will discover, most of all, why people loved him.

It is the business of generals to calibrate the magnitude of a man's courage. They are not to be envied the task, and many of them learned its measure by testing their own guts on the battlefield.

Theresa rose from her pew in the chapel to accept Matt's Bronze Star, the fifth in the hierarchy of combat medals awarded Marines. He died on a mission for which he volunteered, in a province far from home, leading men into battle. Pinned down and receiving a "heavy volume" of enemy fire, the medal citation says, he rose up and led his men into a mud-brick house, cleared it of the enemy, "was the first to reach the rooftop" where he "spotted an enemy rocket-propelled grenade gunman and immediately killed him . . . and began to engage while under fire."

His best friend told the mourners, "He would want you to know that he went down swinging."

There were a dozen Marine captains in dress blue in the overflowing pews of the chapel. Marines may blink hard a few times, but they don't cry. Their mothers and widows cry for them.

In the week when they laid a young Marine captain to rest, the news was dominated by the death of a politician and the echo from an entertainer's death. The flag-draped coffin on the front page was not his, but if you look carefully in the paper this week you will see a small picture of Matt Freeman among the faces of those who have fallen recently in battle.

He did not live long enough to become an the icon of Kennedy or Jackson, but he died the greater hero.

-- Ashley Halsey III, staff writer

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