SGT Matthew Abbate was a 26-year-old sniper out of Camp Pendleton. In October 2010, Abbate and his battalion was in the Sangin River Valley.
He and his team were on patrol walking through orchards and fields in a green zone. The began taking on fire.
The insurgents were attempting to walk them into a minefield. Two marines and a navy hospital corpsman were hit with the ordinances.
Abbate took command of the team since the others were either incapacitated or out of sorts. According to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Abbate ran through the minefield to help the others and to lure the enemy fire.
He commanded his fellow Marines until they beat back the enemy. Aid was then given to the injured and a medical evacuation was arranged.
Fighting the Enemy
According to Abbate’s award citation, he spearheaded a counterattack on the enemy to buy time for a rapid evacuation of the injured team members.
Abbate was injured when he and the patrol were pinned down by insurgents and an air strike came in a little too close. His death was thought to be caused by friendly fire, but an investigation showed that his head and neck injury was a combination.
Two 500-pound bombs were dropped nearby and there was enemy gunfire. He had fragments of the bombs and the enemy ordinances.
One of the two 500-pound bombs landed about 500 feet away from the Marine’s position. Witnesses believe he may have put his head up too soon.
A Marine’s Marine
One of his fellow Marines said, “Some guys have the heart, but they don’t have the ability. Or they have the ability but not the heart. He was the whole package. And he was humble about it.”
Another who was with him when he died said, “The guy had everything going for him. He was strong. He was a good-looking dude. But his sense of duty to his country and to his brothers trumped everything. He was completely selfless when it came down to it. He was just a warrior and a patriot. It didn’t matter if he never got an award. He was always going to go out and do his best and be completely fearless on the battlefield at all times.”
Abbate never talked about his experiences with his family, but all the stories his mother heard after he died made her “incredibly proud.”
He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his efforts in service.
Source: Navy Log