Matthew F. Straughter was recently honored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart at their Fallen Heroes Ceremony in St. Louis.
The order is an organization of combat wounded Veterans who are committed to honoring the nation’s fallen heroes and their families in Missouri. They hosted the ceremony, which honored 22 fallen Missourians from all armed services branches who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“We hold these ceremonies to give the family a chance to process the event and to grieve,” said Frank Casson, order commander. “It’s a chance to tell the family ‘Thank You’ and ‘You’re not alone.’”
Straughter, of Belleville, Ill., was a member of the 1138th Engineer Company, based in Farmington. He was killed in action when his vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade in Baghdad on Jan. 31, 2008. Straughter was 27 years old and left behind a wife and five children.
The family was presented with a memorial plaque from the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The organization believes it is very important to let the families of Missouri’s fallen heroes know how much it appreciates and honors the sacrifice their loved ones have made.
First Sgt. Edward Dulaney, of the 1138th, presented the plaque to the Straughter Family on behalf of the order.
Dulaney was in the same truck as Straughter when they were struck by a rocket propelled grenade. Because of that, Dulaney said the ceremony held extra meaning for him.
“We can’t do enough to honor anyone killed in action over there,” said Dulaney. “It’s good to have this to remind us of Matthew. I would hate to see him forgotten. It’s good to see something like this being done.”
Straughter joined the Missouri Army National Guard as a combat engineer in 2005. He was mobilized in July 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He served on Operation Jump Start, the southwest border security mission in Arizona, from November 2006 to June 2007.