Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Matthew R Seidler

Westminster, Maryland

January 5, 2012

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
24 Air Force Airman 1st Class

21st Civil Engineer Squadron

Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado

 Killed in Shir ghazi, Helmand province, Afghanistan, when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. - Matthew Seidler was EOD and was KIA with his entire Team. Team Tripwire. Matthew Seidler, Matthew Schwartz and Bryan Bell.

From The Baltimore Sun baltimoresun.com 01/07/12:

Airman from Westminster is killed in Afghanistan
Airman 1st Class Matthew R. Seidler, a Westminster resident assigned to the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, died Jan. 5 from injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan.

January 07, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun
A 24-year-old airman from Westminster was killed when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said Saturday.

Airman 1st Class Matthew R. Seidler died Thursday in the attack, which killed two other airmen. They were patrolling in Helmand, a southwestern province that remains a Taliban stronghold.
"When he joined the Air Force, he blossomed. He became himself," said a cousin, Kalyn Masek, who last communicated with Seidler on Tuesday, his birthday. "I was really, really proud of him and the man that he'd become."

Seidler, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, entered active duty in November 2009. He was assigned to the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

"He loved what he did" for the military, said Masek, who was surprised when Seidler told her that he was joining the Air Force. Being involved in the disarmament of explosives fed his intellect, she said, and excited him in a way that prior false starts in his professional life had not.

Seidler graduated from Westminster Senior High School in 2006. He took classes for a year in business administration at Stevenson University and then started in a multimedia design program at Carroll Community College before deciding to join the military.

"He was extremely smart," said longtime friend Bryan Vana, who'd known Seidler since middle school. Vana said he was taken aback when Seidler asked him to be a reference for his Air Force admission, but said the decision made sense because military service would satisfy Seidler's desire for new, evolving challenges.

Andrea Masek said she often played poker with her nephew. Poker and other strategy games were his favorite pastime, she said, and he had a serious demeanor at the table.

"He was very logical, analytical," she said.

Seidler and Kalyn Masek, only a year apart in age, were "attached at the hip" growing up. When they were children, their families would go to Deep Creek Lake together, Kalyn Masek said, and the two of them would "cause trouble and get dirty" while playing hours on end.

Shy growing up, Seidler became an adventurous adult, she said. When they were young, she was always the one to bring him out of his shell. But after he joined the armed services, she said, he became the encouraging, outgoing one. On his Facebook page, where his father announced his death to friends and family, Seidler posted photos from trips he'd taken to Paris and New York and hiking and camping in the mountains. He also shared samples of his graphic design work and his preference for the Baltimore Ravens.

Seidler's parents and brother live in Westminster, Kalyn Masek said.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Mark Donnithorne, his squadron commander, said Seidler's role as an explosives disposal technician was vital to the operation.

"We will never forget Matt's sacrifice and dedication to his critical, yet dangerous, mission," he said.

"This is a tragic day for Team Pete, the 21st Space Wing, the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron and especially for Matt's family," Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing Commander, said in a statement Saturday. "We will come together to help Matt's family and friends through their grief."

Also killed were Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell, 23, of Erie, Pa., and Tech. Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz, 34, of Traverse City, Mich.

Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed to this article.

From WJLA 7 TV wjla.com 01/07/12:

Matthew Seidler, of Westminster, Md., killed in Afghanistan
Matt Seidler’s first overseas deployment was one he’d never come home from.
The Department of Defense announced today that Matthew Seidler, 24, of Westminster, Md. was killed in the line of duty in southern Afghanistan Thursday.

Seidler, an Airman 1st class with the Air Force, had one of the most dangerous jobs – to detect and dispose of Improvised Explosive Devices, IED’s, on a daily basis.

This Thursday that risky assignment led to his death, when a roadside bomb hit the vehicle carrying him and two other airmen in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. All three men were killed.

Seidler was raised and educated in the tight-knit community of Westminster, Maryland, attending Westminster High School, Stevenson University and Carroll Community College. Today neighbors and friends were stunned and solemn as they slowly were informed of his death.

“Its really sad news, it's terrible to hear, especially the start of a New Year,” neighbor Tim Pugh said, "And it brings it home right when it happens across the street from you."

The Seidlers' next-door-neighbor and friend, Wayne Parks, said that just recently Matt’s parents were proudly speaking of their son during neighborhood Christmas parties, showing off pictures of their son on duty in Afghanistan, posted to his Facebook page.

“He looked awesome in his uniform and you know we all had a lot of pride in what Matt was doing over there,” said Parks. “To have something like this happen so soon after he got there is, you know -- it's heartbreaking."

Seidler entered active duty in November 2009 and became an Explosive Ordnance Disposal, EOD, technician with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron in Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

“EOD Airmen have been vital to Operation Enduring Freedom, and unfortunately, the pride we’ll feel when we see Matt’s name on the EOD Memorial Wall at Eglin AFB will not extinguish the sorrow we feel from his loss,” said Lt. Col. Mark Donnithorne, 21st CES commander, today, “We will never forget Matt’s sacrifice and dedication to his critical, yet dangerous, mission.”

The Seidler family today traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware receiving the remains of his body back from Afghanistan in a dignified transfer ceremony.

When they return home, neighbors say, the community is ready to rally behind them. And to remind then about a life well lived by their son.

“When he found the military we saw a boy become a man very quickly,” friend Wayne Parks said, “a big change happened and it was profound to see. And it’s just tragic that we can't see the next stage in his life."
A memorial service for Seidler will be announced at a later date.

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