Matthew Scott Lourey
Chief Warrant Officer, United States Army
May 28, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the
death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They
died on May 27 from injuries sustained on May 26, 2005, in Buhriz, Iraq,
when their OH-58 (Kiowa Warrior) came under
The soldiers are:
CW4 Matthew Scott Lourey, 40, of East Bethel,
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
May 31, 2005
The Iraq war hits close to home because many
soldiers from the Moose Lake area serve abroad.
MOOSE LAKE, MINNESOTA - In a community that has and continues to give so much to the United States military, Monday marked a day of remembering.
Hundreds of people gathered in the Moose Lake High School gymnasium Monday morning for an emotional Memorial Day program. The event included a slide show filled with images of local military personnel who have been killed in the Iraq war and those who continue to serve.
``I think part of the reason I made it through what I did was to be here today, honoring these men and women,'' Walt Anderson, a Vietnam War veteran and member of the Moose Lake American Legion Post 379, told the crowd. ``You all have not forgotten the sacrifices of the unsung heroes.''
As Anderson finished speaking, the gymnasium lights went dark and a single flute began playing ``Taps.''
Pictures of troops flickered across a large screen -- troops who have and continue to serve in the Middle East and elsewhere. Mary Rose Varo of Cromwell sang ``Unsung Hero,'' a song she composed to honor the troops.
The Cloquet and Moose Lake area communities have endured much loss. Four soldiers, including Army Chief Warrant Officer Matt Lourey, formerly of rural Pine County, have died in the Iraq war.
Lourey died in a helicopter crash north of Baghdad on Thursday. His picture was included with those of Levi Angell of Cloquet, Moises Langhorst of Moose Lake and Matthew Milczark of Kettle River -- all of whom died in the Middle East within one month of each other in 2004.
Kay and Ray Graftaas of Barnum attended the event in memory of their nephew, Matt Milczark.
``It shouldn't have happened,'' Kay Graftaas said. She was Milczark's godmother. ``He didn't get a chance at life.''
Milczark was just 18 when he died in a noncombat shooting in Kuwait.
``It just never leaves your mind,'' Kay Graftaas said in a shaky voice.
Despite the losses, the communities continue to give, though some have grown weary of the steady media attention. Several American Legion members said they didn't publicize Monday's events because they wanted to guard local families' privacy.
Among soldiers serving in the military were pictures of Matthew Giersdorf of Moose Lake, serving with the Army in Fort Lewis, Wash. He has been there a year and may be deployed in January, said his mother, Carla.
``Your heart bursts with pride and sorrow at the same time thinking about it,'' Carla Giersdorf said.
There were pictures of Kathy Loban's son, Dan, also from Moose Lake. He is a dentist with the Marine Corps serving in Fort Campbell, Ky., and will be leaving for Iraq in October. He is destined to serve in Baghdad, leaving behind a wife and a young son.
Yet even in her concern for her own son's future, Kathy Loban took a moment to think of other people's children.
``I am amazed that there are so many kids around here in the armed forces,'' Kathy Loban said, speaking of the slide show.
``It helps to put names to faces,'' Carla Giersdorf said.
After the service, the American Legion Honor Guard marched to the Moose Lake Area Veterans Memorial Park for traditional Memorial Day services, with much of the crowd following.
The honor guard fired a rifle salute, and a lone bugler again played ``Taps,'' which, after a moment, was echoed in the distance by another bugler.
Former Moose Lake Mayor Clayton Hartman spoke of the town's strong military history as he circulated among those gathered.
``The fact that there are a lot of soldiers from Moose Lake who gave their lives, that just brings it all closer to home, that the war is real,'' said Hartman, a World War II veteran.
As Moose Lake residents think of past losses
and the ongoing war, ``there has been a great deal of sorrow, some reflection
and some hope that this war on global terrorism will be resolved,'' Hartman
Lourey, the son of Minnesota State Senator Becky Lourey and Gene Lourey, died in a helicopter crash in Iraq.
Lourey will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with full military honors.
Governor Tim Pawlenty also declared all state
and U.S. flags at the state Capitol will fly at half-staff today in honor
of Lourey and the late U.S. Rep. Joseph Karth, who passed away last week.
3 June 2005
Mourning Matthew Lourey
Nearly 1,200 people, including 100 state lawmakers, filled the East Central High School gymnasium today to honor a fallen soldier and to support a colleague.
Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Lourey was killed last week when his helicopter crashed in Iraq. He was serving his second tour of combat duty there.
His mother is State Senator Beckey Lourey, DFL-Kerrick.
Among the speakers was Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar. Johnson is also a two-star general and the top chaplain of the Minnesota Army National Guard.
"One day we will understand," Johnson told the group of mourners. "Not today - probably not tomorrow, but one day we will understand."
Matthew Lourey's widow, Army Captain Lisa Lourey, said her husband was a great storyteller and sometimes a "goofball."
But most of all, she said, he was a dedicated husband and a loyal and committed army aviator.
Lourey will be buried at Arlington National
Cemetery in Virginia on June 10, 2005.
Senator Dean Johnson will represent the state of Minnesota Friday at the burial of U.S. Army Warrant Officer Matthew Lourey at Arlington National Cemetery.
Johnson is a Brigadier General in the National Guard and the State National Guard Chaplain.
Lourey was the son of Minnesota Senator Becky Lourey. He was killed last month when his helicopter was shot down in Iraq.
Johnson also will be out of the state for two days next Tuesday and Wednesday. He'll be taking his turn to receive the bodies of soldiers killed in Iraq and escort the caskets to the hearses with the military honor guard at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Johnson said his rotation was planned two months
ago when it was thought the Legislature would be done with its work. Johnson
says there will be budget negotiations on Monday, Thursday and Friday of
Becky Lourey walked the nearly two miles in the sweltering heat of the afternoon yesterday from the Old Post Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery to the freshly dug grave in Section 60, Number 8,187, where her son, Matthew, was to be buried.
Lourey, one of the most liberal state senators in Minnesota, had been one of the most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq. She circulated a petition opposing the U.S. decision to go to war unilaterally. She publicly sparred with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.
And at a Democratic campaign rally last year, as Matthew was preparing to return voluntarily for a second tour of duty in Iraq, she railed against President Bush. "I don't want any more chicken hawks making these decisions, lying to us about the reasons," she said.
Yesterday, she walked slowly and deliberately behind a military band and the clip-clopping horses pulling a caisson with Matthew's coffin. She walked, along with Matthew's wife and nine of his brothers and sisters, their children and dozens of black-clad friends and mourners because, they said, it was one way they could honor him.
Army Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Scott Lourey, 40, of Lorton and East Bethel, Minn., died May 27, a day after his OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter came under small arms attack and crashed in Buhriz, just north of Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense.
Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Michael Scott, 28, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, also died in the helicopter crash. Counting the two men -- members of the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C. -- a total of 1,685 U.S. soldiers have died and nearly 13,000 have been wounded since military operations began in Iraq.
This had always been Becky Lourey's worst fear.
Yesterday, Matthew Lourey's father, Eugene, a one-time code breaker for the National Security Agency, sat graveside in a makeshift chair on the green artificial turf, shaking and sobbing into a handkerchief. He cried as officers presented a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and neatly folded flags to Becky Lourey and Matthew's wife, Lisa.
Matthew Lourey's father and brothers had asked him not to go back. He was one of the older pilots in the Army. He had been offered a cushy desk job. The war, they said, was all about oil and greed.
But Becky Lourey never asked him. "I knew he wouldn't be happy any other way," she said. She knew that once a soldier is called, it's the soldier's duty to serve. She is opposed to what she calls the "irresponsible leadership" of the commander in chief who made the call.
In e-mails Matthew sent her, he, too, described feeling uneasy about the war. But he loved the Army, she said. And he looked out for his men.
"Just because we opposed the war doesn't mean Matthew died in vain," Becky Lourey said. "Ever since he died, we've come to find out how many lives he saved, how many people he taught. He flew cover for Iraqis when they went to vote."
At a memorial service in Minnesota a few days ago, Matthew's wife, a captain in the Army's finance branch who works at the Pentagon, said flying was his dream.
He joined the Marines after high school. When they wanted him to be a cook, he quit, became a bush pilot and later signed up for the Army and flight school. He was so determined to stay in the sky that when high cholesterol might have grounded him, he became a vegetarian and marathon runner. "He died never sacrificing his dreams," his wife told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Military officers left the family alone with
the silver coffin that soon would be lowered into the ground. Becky Lourey,
a woman who bore four children and adopted eight, a politician who voted
on a resolution to support the troops but not President Bush, wept.
LOUREY, MATTHEW SCOTT
CW4 US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/28/1964
DATE OF DEATH: 05/26/2005
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8187
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY