Matthew Willard Wilson – Private First Class United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

June 03, 2009

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died June 1, 2009, in Nerkh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.  They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Fort Drum, New York.

Killed were:

  • Staff Sergeant Jeffrey A. Hall, 28, of Huntsville, Alabama
  • Private First Class Matthew D. Ogden, 33, of Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Private First Class Matthew W. Wilson, 19, of Miller, Missouri

June 9, 2009
Courtesy of News-Leader

The father of a slain soldier will get his two wishes — to attend his son's funeral in Washington, D.C. and meet his daughter-in-law and grandson for the first time.

When James “Jim” Wilson made a plea for financial help to get to his son's funeral, he never imagined the response he would get from the military and even complete strangers.

“It means a lot,” Wilson said, wiping tears from his eyes. “I want to make sure everyone gets a thank you.”


Private First Class Matthew Wilson, 19, was killed last week in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb.


A funeral service with full military honors is set for Augyst 19, 2009, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Although others offered to help the father get to Washington, D.C., the U.S. Army has agreed to pay for his airfare and two nights of lodging. He couldn't afford the trip because he lives on Social Security, and extra money is scarce.

Jerry Potter of Springfield was willing to help Jim Wilson.

He didn't know the man but was so moved by a story in Saturday's News-Leader about Wilson's desire to attend the funeral, he offered to pay for a round-trip bus ticket.

“I just feel sorry for him,” he said.

On Monday, calls poured into the Golden Living Center in Branson where Jim Wilson resides, inquiring about how to help.

The sentiment was not lost on Jim Wilson. Because the Army will be paying his way to the funeral, he's directing that all other donations go to a trust fund being set up for his 6-month-old grandson, Matthew Gunnar Wilson.

“It means my grandson is going to have a bigger nest egg,” he said.

Matthew Wilson went into foster care at the age of 13. His mother died in 2003, and his father had a stroke and could no longer care for him.

“That just threw his whole world upside down,” said Jeff Wilson, of Mount Vernon, Matthew's half brother .

He joined the military on January 3, 2008.

Jeff Wilson said the fact that two of Matthew's stepbrothers are in the U.S. Air Force likely had something to do with his wanting to join the military.

“That's all he ever wanted to do (was join the military),” he said. “Even when he was young … it was just something he really wanted to do.”

Jim Wilson said he's proud of his son's military service.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” he said.

Ashlynn Wilson of New York, Matthew's wife, said Monday that it was a desire to belong to a group that drew her husband to the ranks of the U.S. Army.

“He didn't really grow up in the best setting and he wanted to be part of something, and he wanted to do something for his country,” she said.

Ashlynn Wilson recalled fond memories of her husband, who was a friend of her brother's when the two met early last yar. They were married August 7, 2008.

This August, Ashlynn and Matthew Wilson would have celebrated their one-year anniversary.

She remembered the Chinese restaurant they went to the night they met and how he asked her father for her hand in marriage before he proposed. She said there's a million reasons why her husband was so special, but struggled to find the words to speak.

Ashlynn Wilson said she is reminded of her husband every time she looks at her son.

“He has his nose,” she said. “He pretty much has everything from me, but he has his nose and his feet.”

Jeff Wilson said if there's a silver lining in his half brother's death it's the overwhelming support the family has received.

“There's been an outpouring of love and support from people that didn't even know him,” he said. “People have offered condolences and money to get my father out there (to the funeral). American people are still good people at heart.”

And although the circumstances are extremely unfortunate, Jeff Wilson said Matthew Wilson's death will bring family members together from across the country — many of whom have never met each other before.

Ashlynn Wilson and her son will gather with other family members for a memorial service in honor of Matthew Wilson at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Golden Living Center in Branson.

Jim Wilson said he's looking forward to meeting his daughter-in-law and grandson, who he didn't even know existed until he learned of his son's death. He and his son had lost touch after he joined the military.

He spoke lovingly of his son Monday afternoon.

“He liked to fish and hunt just like me,” Jim Wilson said. “He was a good boy.”

18 August 2009:

A soldier from Miller, Missouri,  who was killed in Afghanistan will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. Private Firt Class Matthew Willard Wilson will be interred in Section 60 of the national cemetery in Washington, D.C.

A soldier from Miller who was killed in Afghanistan will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.

Private First Class Matthew Willard Wilson will be interred in Section 60 of the National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. That section is for service members killed in action in connection with Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to Doug Foster, a public affairs official with Arlington National Cemetery.


He said Wilson will be buried with full honors, which includes an Army band, casket team, bugler, caisson, escort and firing party.

Wilson was a foster child who lived in a number of places over the years before he arrived in Miller, but he wasn’t there long. He attended Miller High School for about a year, between 2006 and 2007, before he left school to pursue a General Educational Development certificate, and then entered military service.

But his time in Miller made an impression on him. When Wilson joined the Army, he listed Miller as his hometown, and he left a friend’s home in Miller as his forwarding address.

Wilson, 19, was one of three soldiers killed June 1 in a roadside bomb attack in Nerkh, Afghanistan, according to officials at Fort Drum, New York. All three soldiers were members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. The three were killed when the bomb detonated near their vehicle.

According to a statement released by the public affairs office at Fort Drum, Wilson was an ammunition handler. He joined the Army in February 2008, and after completing training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he transferred to Fort Drum in June 2008.

Wilson was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 10/18/1989
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/01/2009

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