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Old 03-21-2007, 06:12 AM
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Capt Matthew William Bancroft, USMC, 29, Monterey, CA (Afghanistan)

Arlington National Cemetery

Matthew William Bancroft
Captain, United States Marine Corps

Captain Matthew W. Bancroft, United States Marine Corps, was born on 6 July 1972, in Milwaukee, Oregon. After graduating from Burney High School in 1990, he attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating with a B.S. in Economics and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in May 1994.

In August 1994, Second Lieutenant Bancroft reported to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduation in January 1995, he reported to Naval Flight Training in Corpus Christi, Texas. Promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant in May of 1996, he earned his coveted wings of gold in October 1996. He then received orders to MCAS Cherry Point where he trained in the KC-130 Hercules.

After completing initial training in the KC-130, First Lieutenant Bancroft reported VMGR-352, MCAS El Toro, California in October 1997. He served as Adjutant, Legal Officer, and Flight Duty Officer. In August 1998, he was promoted to the rank of Captain. While with the squadron, he participated in deployments to Jordan, Kenya, Egypt, and Kuwait, in support of Operations Edge Mallet and Eager Mace.

Captain Bancroft made the move with the squadron from MCAS El Toro to MCAS Miramar. After working in the squadron as a Flight Duty Officer, he then transferred to Marine Aircraft Group Eleven where he served as the fixed wing air coordinator.

Captain Bancroft was a Transport Plane Commander, Post Maintenance Check Pilot, and a Section Flight Lead. He had accumulated more than 1500 total flight hours with 1300 flight hours in the KC-130. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen, and their three children, Sean, Christian, and Bailey Madison.
Saturday, February 2, 2002
Family salutes fallen Marine
Pilot buried in Monterey

The 12-year-old stepson of a Marine captain killed in the war on terrorism choked back tears Friday as he spoke to more than 300 mourners at his father's funeral. "I always used to ask him, 'Why do you have to go?' He answered, 'I am fighting for our country,'" said Christian Johnson, stepson of Captain Matthew W. Bancroft. "Before he left, he told me to take care of our family."

Bancroft, 29, was one of seven Marines who died January 9, 2002, when the KC-130 tanker plane he was piloting crashed into a mountain near Shamsi, Pakistan. His wife, Mary Ellen, is a native of Castroville.

Bancroft was buried Friday with full military honors at the Monterey City Cemetery. His coffin was lowered into the ground after a 21-gun salute and a flyover by four Marine F-18 fighter jets.

The burial followed a two-hour funeral Mass at St. Angela's Catholic Church in Pacific Grove.

Bancroft leaves behind a wife, Mary Ellen, a 9-month-old daughter, Bailey Madison, and two stepsons, Christian Johnson and Sean Johnson, 13. They live in San Diego.

Friends recalled Bancroft's sense of humor and his devotion to both family and career.

"He absolutely loved his job and was very passionate about his job and about flying," said John Knox, who was Bancroft's best man at his wedding in Carmel. "Matt wanted to do his part and to answer the call if the call came.

"He was very courageous in all aspects of life."

Knox said Bancroft, who was nicknamed "Burney" after his hometown, had determination, integrity, courage and honor.

"I sleep better at night knowing men like Matt are out there defending our country," said Knox, a fellow Marine.

Bancroft's widow chose to bury Bancroft in Monterey because of the couple's ties to the area, relatives said.

The Bancrofts were married in Carmel in October 1999 and frequently visited the area, especially because Mary Ellen's parents and other family members still live in Castroville.

The two met in 1998 at a Halloween party in the San Diego area.

In an interview earlier this month, Mary Ellen said the couple had planned to move back to the Salinas area before her husband was sent to serve in the war in Afghanistan.

Bancroft was born in Oregon and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy before entering the Marine Corps in 1994.

His parents, Robert and Beverly Bancroft, live in Redding.

VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 06/29/1994 - 01/09/2002
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/06/1972
DATE OF DEATH: 01/09/2002
Posted: 19 October 2002 Updated: 12 December 2002 Updated: 9 March 2003 Updated: 29 June 2004 Updated: 5 October 2004
Updated: 26 December 2005
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