Army SFC
Levering, MI
Operation Enduring Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Washington Park
124 N. Main St
Cheboygan, MI

Died of wounds received when insurgents using small arms fire attacked his unit while on combat operations in Asadabad, Afghanistan. Assigned to the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.

Matthew Dean Blaskowski, first born son of Terry and Cheryl Blaskowski, was kind spirited, even as a child, he always looked out for the underdogs, always stood by them, befriending them and made them feel special and important. He lived each moment of his young life to the fullest, whether it was playing games, goofing around with family and friends or aggravating the heck out of his little brother. His hobbies and interests included, hunting, fishing, 4 wheeling, snowmobiling, NASCAR and family. He had a need for speed, so it isn’t surprising he wanted to jump out of airplanes, it was like a natural thing for him. He was an accomplished hunter, having shot 2 caribou, and a black bear on a hunting trip in 2003 with his dad, uncles, and cousin.
Matt graduated from Cheboygan High School in 1998. In October of 1997, he and his best friend Gabriel Jones enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard and two weeks after high school graduation in 1998, they left for boot camp to Ft. Benning, GA. After completion and graduation, he came home, working in the plumbing field. Four months later he came home one night and told his parents he “didn’t want to work for a living”. (Like what he and other soldiers do isn’t work) When he left for boot camp, he had no idea about real responsibilities and was just a carefree kid. While there his leadership qualities began to shine and he was given charge of other soldiers. He loved the challenges and opportunities the military had to offer. He served with the Michigan Army National Guard, the 10th Mountain Division and finally the infamous 173rd Airborne Brigade.
While serving and living in Italy, he met and fell in love with Daniela Cadore in 2003. Daniela became his wife in Nove, Italy on June 3rd, 2006. She and her family provided a home away from home in Italy. Matthew was loved and loved all his family, especially his nephew Keegan and niece Haley.
In 2005 while deployed with the 173rd Airborne in Afghanistan, Matt was shot while pulling one of his injured soldiers to safety, receiving a silver star and a purple heart, for not only his injury; but also his heroic actions and valor during the intense fire fights. Within three months he was back with his men serving again in Afghanistan.
In 2007, on his second deployment with the 173rd in Afghanistan, Matt was platoon leader. He was the youngest platoon leader because of his leadership capabilities according to his commander, Colonel Ostlund, The day he was killed, Colonel Ostlund and other officers had just arrived at Matthew’s platoon’s base camp; FOB Vegas to encourage the troops and also to promote Matt to Sgt 1st Class. Matthew was asked to get an NCO to show them where the surveillance equipment was needed outside their perimeter. Matt being Matt took that upon himself to do rather than delegate to another. As they were checking the area, a sniper shot Matthew in the chest, fatally wounding him. His friend and Lt., Brad Winn was at his side holding his hand as he went on to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Matt’s comrades and commanding officers have told how much they respected him and what a hero he was and is to them. One of the things that they would say, which pretty much speaks of the person Matt was, is that he would never tell them to do something that he wouldn’t do himself.
All his family called him their hero. He told his dad, Terry “Dad I am not a hero, those who have died are Heroes.” Keegan would always look at the American flag flying outside his home and say “That’s Uncle Matt’s flag.” His younger brother Stanley said “This isn’t supposed to happen; he is supposed to grow old, come home, and tell us stories about his adventures.”
Sergeant First Class Matthew D. Blaskowski’s awards and decorations include: The Silver Star Medal, The Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart Medal with oak leaf cluster, The Army Commendation Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, The Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, The Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, The Afghanistan Campaign Medal, The Global War on Terror Medal, The NOC Professional Development Ribbon with oak leaf cluster, The Army Service Ribbon, The Army Overseas Ribbon with oak leaf cluster, The NATO Kosovo Medal, The Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two oak leaf clusters, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon. SFC Blaskowski also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, The Parachutist Badge, The Expert Rifle Badge and the elite Pathfinder Badge.

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