Matthew Albert Pucino
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 925-09
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Pucino, 34, of Cockeysville, Maryland, died November 23, 2009 in Pashay Kala, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group of the Maryland Army National Guard in Glen Arm, Maryland.
For more information media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005; after hours (910) 689-6187, or visit http://news.soc.mil/.
26 November 2009:
For the second time in a month, a soldier with ties to Plymouth, Massachusetts, has been killed in Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Pucino, 34, who lived in Cockeysville, Maryland, died Monday in Pashay Kala, Afghanistan, when his mounted patrol unit was attacked with an IED.
Anthony Pucino, 39, of Norton said his cousin grew up in Plymouth and also lived in Bourne. He joined the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks “because he wanted to help protect Americans,” Pucino said.
“He volunteered this time to go back. He loved what he did.”
Last week, U.S. Army Sergeant Benjamin Sherman, 21, was buried at Manomet Cemetery. The Plymouth High School graduate and Army paratrooper disappeared with a fellow soldier November 4 when they jumped into a river in western Afghanistan in an attempt to recover supplies.
Matthew Pucino was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group of the Maryland Army National Guard in Glen Arm. He is the 11th Maryland Army National Guardsman to die in the war on terror. He also served in Iraq and was deployed to Afghanistan in July. His cousin said this was his fourth tour of duty.
“Everything he set out to do, he was 100 percent all the time,” Anthony Pucino said. “He just had a heart of gold.”
Matthew Pucino enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002. He earned a Green Beret as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant.
Survivors include his parents, Albert and Kathryn Pucino of Orlando, Florida; and two sisters, Lisa Haglof of Sagamore and Melissa Pucino of Plymouth. They could not be reached.
Pucino said his cousin’s father is a retired
Mike Schuh reports Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Pucino grew up in Massachusetts, but recently moved to Maryland.
Matthew A. Pucino, 34, recently became a resident of Cockeysville as part of a company of 80 Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan from Glen Arm.
"Well, these are the best soldiers America can produce. These are our Special Forces soldiers. They've gone through some of the best training and the best schools," said Major Charles Kohler, Maryland National Guard.
Pucino died early Monday in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. He was riding in a small all-terrain vehicle.
"He was in a vehicle, and an IED went off nearby, and he was killed," said Kohler.
Pucino was an Engineer and an Intelligence Sergeant.
"He joined the military in 2002. This is not first deployment overseas," said Kohler.
In fact, his service in Iraq earned him a Purple Heart when wounded, and a Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Three Marylanders have died in Afghanistan. Pucino is the second from his unit alone.
Chris Coffland, a reservist, was killed the week before. Like Pucino, a roadside explosive took his life.
"His whole life changed after 9/11, after 9/11 he felt he had a commitment to his country," said Toni Coffland, mother.
Sgt. Pucino has requested to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His funeral will be held in a few weeks. His family is from Florida and Massachusetts.
NOTE: Sergeant Pucino will be laid to rest with full military honors on Friday, 11 December 2009 at 9 AM in Arlington National Cemetery.
PUCINO, MATTHEW ALBERT
Posted: 8 December 2009 Updated: 14 December 2009 Updated: 3 February 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, February 2010