Matthew T. Bolar
Corporal, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 534-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specialsit Matthew T. Bolar, 24, of Montgomery, Alabama, died May 3, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations.Bolar was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.
For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the U.S. Army Alaska public affairs office at (907) 384-1542.
A Montgomery soldier who volunteered for a second tour of duty in Iraq died Thursday when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit.
Army Specialist Matthew T. Bolar, 24, was serving with the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
According to a Department of Defense news release, Bolar is the son of Anne and Vernon Adkins of Montgomery and Gordon and Elly Bolar of Kalamazoo, Mich. In addition to his parents, Bolar is survived by his sister, Emma, 19, who graduated from St. James School in Montgomery and now attends the University of Alabama.
Bolar graduated as valedictorian of Canterbury High School in 2002.
The Adkins family declined to be interviewed, but family friend Bob Thurber spoke on their behalf. Thurber, who works with Anne Adkins at Raycom Media, has known the family for about 10 years. He spoke with Bolar when he was home between his tours of duty.
"He told me he was going house-to-house in search of insurgents," Thurber said. "I think he knew what the dangers were."
The family was notified of Bolar's death about 9:30 p.m. Thursday by casualty assistance officers and a chaplain.
"A lot of people are suffering these days because of what is going on over there," Thurber said. "Annie lived in fear that this day would come."
Funeral arrangements are pending the return
of Bolar's body to the United States.
The Army says an Alabama soldier based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, died Thursday in Iraq.
24-year-old Specialist Matthew T. Bolar of Montgomery died of wounds received from an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad.
Bolar graduated at the top his class at Canterbury High School in 2002. The infantryman joined the Army in September 2004 and was assigned to Fort Richardson in November 2005.
He was a member of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
Funeral arrangements are pending. The family
said Bolar will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington,
Alabama Soldier Volunteered For Return To Baghdad
Mother Says Playful Son Felt Called After 9/11
By Mark Berman
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Thursday, May 17, 2007
After spending nearly a year in Iraq, Army Specialist Matthew T. Bolar was home for only two months before he volunteered for a second tour.
And just two months after returning to Iraq, he was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat. Two other soldiers were seriously injured in the May 3 explosion in Baghdad.
Bolar, 24, of Montgomery, Alabama, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.
With a gray sky blocking out the mid-afternoon sun, more than three dozen mourners assembled at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday to honor Bolar. He was the 334th member of the military killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington.
Bolar, who was born in Baton Rouge, is survived by his mother and stepfather, Anne and Vernon Adkins of Montgomery; his father and stepmother, Gordon and Elly Bolar of Kalamazoo, Michigan; and a younger sister, Emma.
In an earlier interview, Anne Adkins recalled her son's fun-loving nature. She spoke of a mischievous and independent child whose favorite television station was the Military Channel, and of a boy who liked historical documentaries and military-themed toys.
"He was always very patriotic," she said. "After 9/11, he really wanted to go into the armed forces. He felt like he was called."
In 2002, Bolar graduated as valedictorian from Canterbury High School in Montgomery. He wanted to enlist, but his mother ("like a mom," she said) persuaded him to try college. He attended Auburn University's campus in Montgomery for a year and a half and talked about majoring in military history. But when he turned 21 in 2004, he decided it was time to follow his heart.
"He said, 'Mom, I love you, but this is just something I've got to do,' " Anne Adkins said. "He always loved the military."
His first tour in Iraq lasted from February to December 2006 and included a three-month extension that moved him from Mosul to Baghdad.
"I asked him, 'Is this what you want to do? Is this what you feel like you have to do?' " said Vernon Adkins, Bolar's stepfather of 21 years. "And he said, 'I'm going to do it because they're asking the single guys, and I figured I'd go for somebody who's got kids. Somebody will do this for me in the future.' So I guess if he hadn't gone, maybe some dad would have met that IED.
"He liked making everybody laugh, but when it came down to it, especially these past couple of years, when he found what he loved doing in the Army, things really changed for him, and we're just so proud of him."
Bolar spent most of the time between deployments at home -- except for a January trip to Chicago, where he joined his father, Gordon Bolar, to watch his beloved New Orleans Saints play the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game.
Vernon and Anne Adkins got to see him one last time toward the end of February, just before he returned to Iraq.
Anne Adkins was making cookies to send to Bolar the night she found out he had died. So she decided, with help from the community, to put together a "cookie brigade," which sent about 1,500 cookies to Bolar's unit in Iraq.
Yesterday, as the family rose to lead mourners away from the grave, Vernon and Emma Adkins kissed their hands and touched his silver coffin in a final goodbye.
21 March 2008:
Montgomery, Alabama -- The last time we saw and heard from Anne Adkins was back in November at a memorial dedication that honored the Alabamians who gave everything they had in the fight against terror.
"I miss and love our son so much," Anne Adkins said at the time.
Today, a rainy day in Montgomery marked the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq and the gloom still pierces Adkins' heart.
"My heart is broken. My heart will always be on my son," Adkins said.
It is also on the son of another family. Adkins found out last Friday that Matthew Bolar's friend, William O' Bryan of Texas, died in Iraq, victim of a suicide bomber.
"3 weeks to go," Adkins said.
3 weeks to go before O'Bryan could get out and go home. We don't know how O'Bryan's family feels about the war that's now entering its 6th year. We do know Anne Adkins expresses no regrets about her son's decision to join the military. In fact, she recalls a conversation she had with Matthew when the family visited ground zero in New York one Christmas.
"He looked over at me and I'll never forget this. He said, 'Mom, there's really some things worth dying for like family and country,' Adkins said.
The war clearly has been a polarizing issue for so many Americans, but not necessarily for Anne Adkins who lost her only son, a young man who volunteered to go back to war for a second tour. Not long after a road bomb took Matthew Bolar's life. He was 24.
"If that's good enough for him and there are things worth dying for.. that's good enough for me," Adkins said.
The family buried Matthew Bolar at Arlington National Cemetery last May.
Back in Montgomery Anne Adkins says work and the support of co-workers have been a saving grace yet she will forever be reminded that scourge of war reduced her own family from 4 down to 3.
Specialist Matthew Bolar would have turned 25 this summer. Adkins says she plans to spend his birthday at his grave at Arlington.
Photo Courtesy of Holly, July 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, May 2007