Kirksville graduate one of three U.S. service men killed in Jordan
A Kirksville graduate was one of three U.S. service members killed during a training mission in Jordan on Friday, November 4.
According to a press release from the United States Army, the three men killed were Special Forces soldiers from the 5th Special Forces Group located in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
One of those men, has been identified as 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, most recently of Lawrence, Kansas.
He was the son of Chuck and Cindy Lewellen.
Matthew Lewellen was a 2007 graduate of Kirksville High School.
The three Green Berets reportedly came under fire as they were entering a military base near Jordan's capital city, Amman.
A statement issued by Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, expresses condolences to the families of the servicemen.
He also says this incident is still under investigation.
"We are working closely with the government of Jordan to determine exactly what happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of these service members."
In addition to this training mission, Lewellen had more than 6 years of service with the U.S. Army.
This was his second tour overseas.
During his time the the Army, Lewellen received numerous awards.
Some of those awards include: The Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the NATO Medal.
The following is a statement released by the Lewellen family:
"Matt was born Jan. 15, 1989 to high school sweethearts, Chuck and Cindy Lewellen, the second son of three children. Matt graduated from Kirksville High School in 2007 as the Prom King and a standout athlete for the Tigers football and track teams. He attended Truman State University and was enrolled at the University of Kansas when he decided to follow his dream to serve his country. He joined the Army in February 2010 and after training for Infantry, attended the Airborne School, and graduated from Special Forces training on Nov. 1, 2012. He was stationed at Fort Campbell, and lived in Nashville with the love of his life, Renee Laque, and their dog Charlie.
His parents said, “Matt was a born leader, a true American. He wanted to be a soldier since 3rd grade, and he was doing what he loved to do.”
This was Matt’s second deployment to Jordan, and he left the states on Oct. 22, 2016. His first deployment to Jordan was the first half of 2015, and he returned from there to serve as best man for his brother Andrew’s marriage to Meredith Clougherty in July 2015. He served in Afghanistan in 2014, returning in time to surprise his younger sister Danielle for her college Senior Day at Truman State University.
Matt was known for his sense of humor and his ability to inspire others to achieve any goal they faced. When friends and family gathered, his parents shared, “He was proud to serve his country, and he loved the men and women with whom he served. We are so proud of Matt and all he accomplished. He was a man of faith and action.”
Matt and his family are members of Rehoboth Baptist Church. Services will be held in Kirksville, Missouri, and Matt will be buried at Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville, Missouri. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Matt’s name to nonprofit organizations serving military families."