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SSG Matthew S Sitton - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Matthew S Sitton

Largo, Florida

August 2, 2012

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
26 Army SSG

1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

 Killed in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when they encountered an enemy improvised explosive device.

SSG Matthew S Sitton - www.OurWarHeroes.org SSG Matthew S Sitton - www.OurWarHeroes.org SSG Matthew S Sitton - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton honored in dignified transfer Aug. 4

8/6/2012 - A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton of Largo, Fla., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Aug. 4, 2012. Sitton was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Adrian R. Rowan)

SSG Matthew S. Sitton, 26, of Largo, Florida, was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 2, 2012. 

SSG Sitton was assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; 

He is survived by his wife, Sarah M.; son, Brodey S.; parents, Cheryl and Steve of Largo; sister, Jessica (Christopher) McMahan of Largo; brothers, Jonathan and Cody of Largo; two nieces; one nephew; and numerous aunts, uncles and grand-mothers. 

Funeral service to be held Saturday, August 11, 2012 at the First Baptist Church Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL at 1:00 p.m. 

A Memorial Fund has been established for Brodey S. Sitton: USB Financial Services, 150 2nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. www.HubbellFuneral Home.com

Published in TBO.com on August 10, 2012 
For the second time in little more than a year, a graduate of Indian Rocks Christian School gave the last full measure of devotion while serving his country in Afghanistan.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton passed awaty Thursday, according to a posting on the blog of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks.

Sitton was a long time member of the church and a graduate of Indian Rocks Christian School in Largo, according to the blog.

On July 16, 2011, Army Spc. Frank Gross, of Oldsmar, passed away in Afghanistan. Gross also attended Indian Rocks Christian School and was on the school's baseball team with Sitton. Both graduated in 2004 from the school.

According to the church, Sitton is survived by his wife, Sarah, and 9-month-old son, Brodey; parents Steve and Cheryl Sitton; sister Jessica, and brothers Jonny and Cody.

Don Mayes, superintendant at Indian Rocks Christian School, wrote about Sitton's death in his blog on the school's website.

"Many families were gathered around their televisions on Thursday watching our Olympic athletes with pride as the USA competed for gold. However, for the Sitton family, the scene was much different," Mayes wrote. "Matt's brother, Jonny, watched a white car pull up outside their home and watched two uniformed military personnel approach the door.

"Matt's parents and two brothers, who were home at the time, heard the news that no family wants to hear. The news that their son had given his all for his country. In stunned shock and grief, the Sittons got in the car to go and break the news to Jessica, Matt's older sister. 

Previously, officers had broken the news to Matt's wife who was home with their newborn son. Now the whole family's lives were changed forever."
Do not stand at my grave and weep, 
I am not there; I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow, 
I am the diamond glints on snow, 
I am the sun on ripened grain, 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
When you awaken in the morning's hush 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circling flight. 
I am the soft star-shine at night. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry, 
I am not there; I did not die.
From The Tampa Bay Times tampabay.com 09/21/12

Mother of slain Sgt. Matthew Sitton wants more answers — and in person
John Woodrow Cox Times Staff Writer
Friday, September 21, 2012 9:08pm

LARGO — Cheryl Sitton's questions are simple. To her, the answers should be, too.
And so far, she's not satisfied with what top U.S. military officials have explained in the wake of the death of her son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton. So she'd like the chance to talk to them in person.

On June 4, Matthew Sitton wrote a letter to U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. In it, Sitton asked for help. For months, he wrote, his platoon had been mandated to patrol empty fields and compounds littered with explosives. His objections, and requests for an explanation, were disregarded. He was told to quit complaining.

About two months after writing that email, Sitton stepped on an explosive and died. He was 26.

Young, deeply disturbed by Sitton's message and subsequent death, sought answers. A response came from the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno.

Young called Mrs. Sitton and, in basic terms, detailed explanations that satisfied neither of them.

The congressman told her that, according to the general, the commanding officers who had mandated those patrols would be given different assignments when they returned to the United States.

"That's not fixing the problem. That's moving the problem," Mrs. Sitton said Friday. "Now that these guys aren't going to be putting Matt's men's lives in danger, they're going to be putting some other guys' lives in danger."

Mrs. Sitton says she doesn't want anyone to lose a job, but a mere reassignment won't change a culture in which she believes it was acceptable to issue orders that forced American soldiers, including her son, into death traps.

"That is unacceptable to me," she said. "That's an unacceptable answer."

The Army's other response offered even less clarity — and more frustration.

The Taliban was especially strong in the area Sitton's platoon patrolled, she said Young had been told. Her son's men were the best the Army had, so they were assigned to that area.

"Our question was not why they were there. That's not the question. We know why they were there," she said. "Our question was: Why are they doing the two-to-four-hour foot patrols in areas that are littered with bombs?"

Through Young, Mrs. Sitton said, Odierno has requested to speak with her. She agreed, but declined to do it over the phone. She wants to meet with him in person.

Sitton's death, though not unlike many others in recent years, has drawn widespread attention because it prompted Young, R-Indian Shores, to announce that after a decade of war, he believes it's time for America's soldiers to leave Afghanistan.

He's received more than 200 emails from constituents since the announcement. Only two of them, he said, were critical.

Many of Young's Republican colleagues, whom he declined to name, have also voiced support.

"They've been waiting for somebody to say it," he said, "and they're glad I said it."

Like Mrs. Sitton, though, Young's work on this issue has just begun. He wants clear answers from the Army about why Sitton, and many men like him, have died. He wants to know that it won't happen again.

"I just don't think we are protecting the soldiers to the extent that we should be," he said. "The threat is growing, and I don't see anything being done about it."

Times staff writer Alex Leary contributed to this report.
From ABC News abcnews.go.com 09/21/12:

Soldier's E-mail Changes House Defense Chair's Position on Afghanistan
September 21, 2012
JULIE PERCHA More From Julie »

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton knew there was the threat of casualties when he deployed to Afghanistan for his third tour of duty, but he said he was "totally on board with sacrifice for [his] country."

What he didn't agree with, though, was his chain of command, who mandated Sitton's 25-man platoon to take twice-daily patrols through fields littered with explosive devices. The platoon was averaging an amputee a day, Sitton said, and since the patrols didn't have an end goal, he didn't see the point of risking such extreme danger.

Sitton was so concerned with his platoon's safety and morale that in June, he wrote a measured letter to Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., who chairs the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

"I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent," Sitton wrote in an e-mail. "There is no endstate or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard."

"We are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives," he wrote.

On Aug. 2, less than two months after he sent the email, Sitton, 26, was killed by an IED blast. He left behind a wife, a 9-month-old son - and an 81-year-old Congressman with a new perspective on Afghanistan.

Young is the longest-serving Republican member of Congress, and he has continuously voted against troop drawbacks from Afghanistan, or even for setting a timetable for troop withdrawal. But after Sitton's death, Young noted a change of heart.

"I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can," Young told the Tampa Bay Times this week. "I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die."

Young's new position on Afghanistan comes as President Obama's troop drawback plan marks another milestone. Last June, Obama ordered the U.S. military to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this summer, effectively ending the troop "surge" he deployed in 2009. Today the last of those troops left Afghanistan; 68,000 American troops remain.

The plan also calls for those American troops to be out of Afghanistan by 2014. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney supports this timetable, but Young's influential position in the House could mean more GOP support for the drawback.

In a meeting with Tampa Bay Times editors, Young said he's come to a new realization throughout the past three months, as he visited Veterans Administration hospitals and met with veterans about their time in the field.

Sitton's death also played a role, he said. Young said the Army Ranger predicted his own death in that e-mail, adding, "What he said would happen, happened."

Young has served in the House of Representatives since 1970 and is now running for his 22nd term.
From Thel Clarion Project clarionproject.org 102/27/12

The Tragic End of Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton in Afghanistan
In a heart-stopping, historic letter, Sitton explains the absurdity of his commanders in Afghanistan who told him to ‘quit whining’ about orders to lead daily patrols without an objective through mine fields.

December 27th, 2012
by Diana West

On August 2, 2012, while many millions of Americans were either on, refreshed from or perhaps contemplating their summer vacation, Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton and another U.S. soldier stepped on an IED in a mine-riddled field in Afghanistan. They were both killed. Sitton's sacrifice came to our attention all too briefly in September when a letter he had written to his Congressman in desperation about the strategic futility of such patrolling -- a COIN (COunter INsurgency) staple -- became public.

In looking back on the year, it is important not to forget what Sitton wrote. The recklessness and failures of COIN must still be addressed by the nation.

From September 21:

Below is an extraordinary, heart-stopping and historic letter. It is a letter SSG Matthew Sitton sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young after his commanders in Afghanistan told him to "quit whining" about orders to lead patrols without objective "through, for lack of a better term, basically a mine field on a daily basis," as Sitton wrote.

Twice daily basis, in fact. On August 2, 2012, Sitton and another U.S. soldier were killed in one the IED-riddled field he spoke of. Eighty-one-year-old Rep. Young, who attends the same church in Florida as the Sitton family, this week announced he no longer supports the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and called for their withdrawal in advance of 2014.

Young also held a hearing yesterday to ask the agency in charge of protecting troops against IEDs to explain why so many are still dying and suffering horrific injuries despite an annual budget of nearly $3 billion.

It is time for Sitton's commanders and their commanders and on up the chain of command to be questioned, to talk to We, the People about who devised and signed off on this morally and militarily bankrupt doctrine -- counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy -- that patriots such as Matthew Sitton have paid for with their lives.

It is time for Generals Petraeus, McChrystal, Allen, Dempsey, Admiral Mullen and many more to face us and explain. It is also time for former President Bush and his advisors and President Obama and his advisors to answer for the failure of their misbegotten and irresponsible policy of nation-building in the Islamic world, which COIN supports.

The following letter by Matthew Sitton, RIP, is the right place to start:


Hello my name is SSG Matthew Sitton. I am in the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Ft. Bragg, NC. I am currently deployed with the 4th Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I am writing you because I am concerned for the safety of my soldiers. This is my 3rd combat tour to Afghanistan, so I have seen the transition in Rules of Engagement and Overall Tactics over the past 6 years.

I am only writing this email because I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent. I know the threat of casualties in war and am totally on board with sacrifice for my country, but what I don't agree with is the chain of command making us walk through, for lack of a better term, basically a mine field on a daily basis.

I am in a platoon of 25 soldiers. We are operating at a tempo that is set for a full 35-40 man infantry platoon. We have been mandated to patrol twice daily for 2-4 hours each patrol on top of guarding our FOB [Forward Operating Base] and conducting routine maintenance of our equipment.

There is no endstate or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard.

I am all for getting on the ground and fighting for my country when I know there is a desired endstate, and we have clear guidance of what needs to be done. But when we are told basically to just walk around for a certain amount of time, it doesn't sit well with me.

As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives. Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit.

The moral and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.

Here is an example of how bad things have gotten. Our small FOB was flooded accidentally by a local early one morning a few days ago. He was watering his fields and the dam he had broke and water came flooding into our living area.

Since our FOB does not have any portable bathrooms, we had to dig a hole in the ground where soldiers could use the bathroom. That also got flooded and contaminated all the water that later soaked every soldier and his gear.

Instead of returning to base and cleaning up, our chain of command was so set on us meeting the brigade commanders 2 patrols a day guidance that they made us move outside the flooded FOB and conduct our patrols soaked in urine.

That is just one single instance of the unsatisfactory situations that our chain of command has put us in. At least three of my soldiers have gotten sick since that incident and taken away from our combat power because of their illness caused by unhealthy conditions.

I understand that as a commander you are to follow the orders of those appointed over you, however there needs to be a time where the wellness of your soldiers needs to take priority over walking around in fields for hours a day for no rhyme or reason, but only to meet the Brigade Commanders guidance of you to conduct so many patrols for such an allotted time.

I'm concerned about the well being of my soldiers and have tried to voice my opinion through the proper channels of my own chain of command only to be turned away and told that I need to stop complaining.

It is my responsibility to take care of my soldiers, and there is only so much I can do with that little bit of rank I have. My guys would fight by my side and have my back in any condition, and I owe it to them to have their best interest in mind.

I know they would, and I certainly would appreciate it if there was something that you could do to help us out. I just want to return my guys home to their families healthy. I apologize for taking your time like this Sir, and I do appreciate what you do for us.

I was told to contact you by my grandmMother (name blacked out) who said that you had helped her son (my uncle) (name blacked) out many years ago. He also was serving in the military at the time. Thank you again for allowing soldiers like me to voice their opinion. If anything please pray for us over hear. God bless.

Very respectfully,

SSG Matthew Sitton

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