Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Matthew J England

Gainesville, Missouri

June 8, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
22 Army Pfc

3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment

Fort Hood, Texas

 Killed in An Najaf province, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

This is a tribute to my son, Matthew Joseph England,, who was killed in action in An Najah province, Iraq when enemy forced attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd squadron, 3d Armored Calvary regiment Ft Hood Texas. 

My Matthew was an Ozark Mountain boy raised in the rural southern Missouri area near the town of Gainesville by me (his mother) and his step-father. Matthew’s extended family includes his natural father, paternal grandfather, aunts and uncles in Tennessee as well as his maternal grandmother and other family members in Alabama. Matthew attended school at Lutie R-6 accelerated school in Theodosia, MO where he was in the Honors Society and graduated as salutatorian. He got his first job at the age of sixteen and had been gainfully employed since that date. In addition to serving in the US Army Matthew was working hard at earning his college degree.

Matthew had set some lofty goals for his future. His “dream job” had always been to someday fly military aircraft; it did not matter what kind of aircraft, as long as he could pilot something. He had hoped his commanding officers would someday see fit to nominate him for Warrant Officer Flight School. If that was not to be, Matthew’s backup plan was equally ambitious. He would remain serving in the military until graduating from college in hopes that a college degree, coupled with his experience as a veteran soldier, would be enough to entice the CIA into allowing him a shot at joining their coveted ranks. It did not necessarily have to be as a covert agent—a position sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer analyzing data would have been just fine. He was a whiz at computers. 

But his life was far from being all seriousness. When home in the Ozarks Matthew enjoyed the lakes in the summertime, especially when getting a thrill by jumping from the tops of the bluffs (young person craziness). In the colder months he fervently wished for snow to fall deep enough to allow him break out his snowboard. While stationed at Ft. Hood where there was little chance of going snowboarding, he substituted his snowboard with a skateboard and quickly came to enjoy that sport. The big adventure he was waiting anxiously to do after his tour was over was to learn to skydive. He spent the past year trying to entice his stepdad (a former army paratrooper) into returning to the skies to take lessons. Matthew loved music of all kinds, especially classic rock, and was a fan of movies. Matthew was a “muscle car” enthusiast. He owned two Camaros—a 1984 Z-28 given to him on his 16th birthday by his stepdad and me and a 1993 Z-28 he bought on his own. He was saving his money to buy a brand new Dodge Challenger.

Matthew England was a proud, dedicated soldier who was intelligent and witty and driven. He was a good friend to those deserving. He especially cherished the bond developed with those fellow soldiers with whom he served side by side. Those young fighting men—many of whom I feel I know personally—are true friends, evident by their genuine posts on Matthew’s Facebook page and their heartfelt correspondences with me. My husband is a former soldier and he mentioned so many times the camaraderie that exists between soldiers; I now truly understand. 

I think back over the life I spent with Matthew…it went by so quickly yet was filled with so many wondrous things! I could write forever about him in this dedication but I will end with this…PFC Matthew Joseph England was my loving son…and to me, he was simply awesome. 

Pamela Hengen
Proud mother of PFC Matthew J. England

6/13/2011 - A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Pfc. Matthew J. England, of Gainesville, Mo., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., June 12, 2011. England was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Steve Kotecki) 

From KY3 ky3.com 06/17/11:

PFC Matthew England returns home, body flown to Fort Leonard Wood
June 17, 2011|By Chad Plein, KY3 News 

At 11:30 Friday morning, the body of Private First Class Matthew England from Ozark County, Missouri, returned home.

Iowa Avenue at Fort Leonard Wood was lined with soliders and cilivians paying tribute to PFC England. If they weren't holding a flag, they were dressed in fatigues. A long row down a road - saying good-bye to someone they never knew.

"It's just a small token of respect for our soldiers who put their life on the line for our independence," Brian Raymond who came to watch the motorcade said.

This was the first motorcade for a soldier at Fort Leonard Wood since 2007.

"Very emotional, very sad," Jessie Dunlat said after she watced the motorcade drive past. "But it's also an honor. We have boys and girls who fight for our freedom and we thank God for them everyday."

"You really can't measure it; the ultimate price," Raymond added, "all we can do is give a little bit of time... it means a lot to the family."

In a blink - the motorcade was out of site. It continued on to Waynesville in preparation for the funeral. PFC England will be buried in Veteran's Cemetery at Fort Leonard Wood. He'll be the first modern KIA to be buried in that cemetery.

A memorial service is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at the First Christian Church in Gainesville. Flags are flying at half staff at Missouri's state buildings to honor PFC Matthew England.

From KSPR 33 kspr.com 06/15/11:

Memorial Service Open to Public for Pfc. Matthew England
Gainesville, MO Soldier Was Killed by IED in Iraq June 8
June 15, 2011|by Joe Daues KSPR News

A memorial service for Bronze Star recipient Pfc. Matthew England will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at the First Christian Church in Gainesville, MO.

Pfc. England died June 8 near An Najaf province in Iraq when the armored vehicle he was driving struck an improvised explosive device.

The church is about a half-mile east of the Gainesville square on U.S. Highway 160. 

The service is open to all.

Burial, tentatively set for Monday in the National Cemetery at Fort Leonard Wood, will be private.

From Ozark County Times ozarkcountytimes.com 06/09/11:

Ozark County is mourning the death of Army PFC Matthew J. England, a 2007 Lutie graduate, the son of Pamela Hengen of the Gainesville area and Daniel England of Bartlett, Tenn.

An Army casualty-notification team was in Ozark County Wednesday evening and notified the immediate family. The Army says England was driving a military vehicle in Iraq Wednesday when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded.

From Ozark County Times ozarkcountytimes.com 06/16/11:

Governor orders flags to be flown at half-staff
Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags at state buildings in all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis be flown at half-staff on June 20 to honor the bravery and sacrifice of Private First Class Matthew Joseph England. Private First Class England, age 22, of Gainesville, was a soldier in the United States Army serving in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq. He died on June 8 of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in An Najaf Province, Iraq.

In addition, Gov. Nixon has ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags at all state buildings in Ozark County be flown at half-staff from June 21 to June 26.

"The lowering of the flags will honor Private First Class England and remind Missourians of his bravery and sacrifice," Gov. Nixon said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they mourn for him."

Private First Class England was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, Combat and Special Skill Badge Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge (Bar, Weapon: Rifle (Inscription: Rifle), Expert), and the Overseas Service Bar.

From Ozark County Times ozarkcountytimes.com 06/20/11:

Hundreds line the streets to pay respect to fallen soldier
Ozark County was bathed in red, white and blue over the weekend as hundreds of people lined the streets and poured into a local church to pay respect to a local son who died fighting for his country.

The Sunday afternoon memorial service for PFC Matthew England, a 2007 Lutie High School graduate who died June 8 in Iraq, brought out hundreds of flag-wavers who lined both sides of U.S. Highway 160 from the Gainesville city limit signs east to the First Christian Church where patriots, friends and family packed the church for a touching tribute to a fallen hero.

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