Clint Richard Matthews
Specialist, United States Army
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specialist Clint Richard Matthews, 31, of Bedford, Pennsylvania, died March 19, 2004, in Baji, Iraq, from injuries sustained when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle went over a 60-foot embankment and flipped over on March 17, 2004. He was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, from Schweinfurt, Germany.
Private First Class Bruce Miller, Jr., 23, of Orange, New Jersey, died March 22, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq, of non-combat related injuries. He was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Washington.
The incident is under investigation.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Army Specialist 'Gave It His All'
Accident in Iraq Claims Soldier
By Lila Arzua
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Clint Richard Matthews already had done a tour in the Army, but the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted him to reenlist -- and ultimately give his life for his country.
"He liked doing things for his country and for other people," said his mother, Connie Nugent.
Matthews, 31, of Bedford, Pennsylvania, was a specialist with the Army's 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment. On March 17, 2004, his Bradley Fighting Vehicle veered to the edge of a road in Baji, Iraq, and the road gave way. The armored vehicle, which has a 25mm cannon and runs on tracks like a tank, tumbled 60 feet down an embankment and flipped over into a river below. Matthews suffered severe head trauma and died March 19, 2004, just as his family was rushing to see him in Germany. Another soldier, Specialist Tracy L. Laramore, 30, of Okaloosa, Florida, also died in the accident.
Matthews's family had gathered for a funeral service in Pennsylvania on March 27, 2004. Yesterday, they gathered again to watch him be lain to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Matthews was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, which were presented to his family. American flags were given to his father, Rick Thomasich, mother and younger brother, James Matthews.
Matthews was born in Pittsburgh, the third of four children. The family moved to Bedford when he was about 10. That was when his cousin, Melissa Benfield, got to know his daredevil style. Fearless young Clint could be counted on to be the first to jump into the frigid springs where the children played.
Benfield recalled how the boy, a year younger than she, once led his buddies to commandeer some unattended construction vehicles being used for roadwork and drive them around the site. As in so many of his escapades, "he mostly got away with it," recalled Benfield, who lives in Conover, North Carolina.
Family members also got a kick out of how the kid, so skinny they could count his ribs, was always trying to flex muscles he didn't quite have. Matthews's father tagged him with the nickname "Bones" -- which stuck through the years, even after Matthews took up weightlifting and built up his physique. He also competed in wrestling and football and developed a passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"He was proud of where he came from," said his stepfather, Bill Nugent, who watched the slight youth transform himself into a strong and well-built soldier. "When he came to do something, he stuck to it. He gave it his all."
By the time he was a teenager, Matthews knew he wanted to go into the Army, like his father, a Vietnam veteran. After high school, Matthews did a tour of duty in Hawaii as an infantryman.
Upon his return, Matthews joined the National Guard. Although he missed the full-time military life, he took a series of jobs in a plastics factory, a steel mill and a few restaurants.
Until the date that changed so many lives -- September 11, 2001 -- affected him as well. This time, Matthews served overseas, including in the Balkans, before learning he would be deployed to Iraq.
"He wanted to join the service and go back," said his mother, who last saw her son when he returned to the United States to attend his grandfather's funeral in January, before heading to the Middle East.
Connie Nugent was scared for him, but she knew that he was taking on a mission in which he believed. "We were all so proud of him," she said.
A local family has received news that Army Specialist. Clint Matthews died in an accident in Iraq sometime last week.
He spent his childhood in Pittsburgh and lived in the South Side from about 1996 to 2001. His family received notification on Friday that he died when a land rover in which he was riding tumbled down a 60-foot embankment into a river after a road gave away.
"He was a gung-ho soldier," said Mr. Matthews' father, Rich Thomasich, of Butler. "His goal was to stay in the service until retirement."
The date and specifics about the accident were not available and Mr. Matthews' death had not yet been reported on the U.S. Department of Defense Web site.
Specialist Matthews, who served with B Company, 18th Infantry Division, will receive a promotion posthumously, his brother, James Matthews, of Mesa, Arizona, said yesterday.
James Matthews said several soldiers were in the vehicle. He didn't know whether others died.
"They were traveling on a road close to an embankment and the road gave away," he said yesterday.
His cousin, Melissa "Missy" Lukas, of New Brighton, Beaver County, learned about his death on Friday. She last saw him at Christmas time, before he went to Iraq. Ever since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he had wanted to go to Iraq.
Specialist Matthews spent his early childhood in the South Side, but moved to Bedford with his mother after his parents split. After graduating from Bedford High School, he enlisted in the Army.
His brother said he spent his tour of duty in Texas and Hawaii. He enlisted in the National Guard, and moved back to Pittsburgh, where he lived on the South Side for about five years.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he re-enlisted for active duty. He was stationed in Germany and did temporary active duty in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan before being sent to Iraq.
Specialist Matthews' mother, Connie Nugent,
of Bedford, said her son will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Posted: 25 March 2004 Updated: 10 April 2004 Updated: 3 May 2004 Updated: 4 December 2004 Updated: 31 December 2004 Updated: 25 March 2007 Updated: 13 May 2008
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 22 April 2004
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 2 December 2004