Matthew Freeman packed more into his 29 years than most people do in a lifetime. As a young boy, he was a “river-rat,” guiding his flat-bottomed, Jon-boat through the winding marshlands of the Ogeechee River in his Richmond Hill, Georgia home. Matthew was killed in action on August 7th 2009, his life was filled with strong and outstanding character including his top strengths of curiosity, bravery, humility and humor.

As a Boy Scout he took upon himself to fix the town’s centerpiece gazebo when it fell into disrepair, earning him Eagle Scout honors.

He was a true renaissance man. An avid reader he’d read all of Shakespeare’s works. He was a two-time tennis champion for his high school team, a saxophonist in the marching band and Matthew sang at his high school graduation. He was a 2002 graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

He was an active member of his Methodist church youth group. His Biblical questions kept the youth leaders researching before Matthew returned each week.

One high school classmate wrote this about him: “I think what really set Matt apart was his complete enthusiasm for life. He put his heart into everything he did, whether it was academics, drama, chorus, band, tennis, friendships, or his career. He sincerely wanted to be good at everything, and his combination of talent and hard work eventually turned him into the Renaissance man he would joke about being in high school. Throughout it all, he retained his great sense of subtly self-deprecating humor, and spending time with him was always, well, fun.” Matthew’s true passion though, was flying. As a young boy he fell in love with flying and went on to become a Marine pilot – the third generation of Freemans to wear Navy wings.

In 2009, he married his childhood sweetheart, Theresa Hess. Three weeks later, he opted out of the relative safety of the cockpit and volunteered for ground action when he heard the Marines needed more ground forces – in Afghanistan.

The memorial on the Freeman Barracks in Afghanistan reads:

"Capt. Matthew Freeman was a C-130 Hercules pilot. He volunteered for an individual augmented position with 4th Marines embedded training team and deployed to Afghanistan on 23 July. On 7 August, Captain Freeman was conducting operations with 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 201st Corps, and Afghan National Army. Captain Freeman was engaged in Operation Brest Thunder in one of the most dangerous regions within the 201st Corps area of operations when his team came under heavy enemy fire. He led his men to a building where they could locate a better firing position and was the first to reach the roof, killing a Taliban insurgent attempting to shoot a rocket propelled grenade at his team. While continuing to engage insurgents, Capt. Freeman was mortally wounded in the ensuing exchange of fire. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Combat "V" posthumously for his actions. He graduate in 2002 from the United States Naval Academy and is laid to rest in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery and Columbarium."

 

 

Top Character Strengths

CURIOSITY - BRAVERY - HUMOR - HUMILITY

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