OREM, UT, U.S.A.
CW3, CO B, 5TH BN, 101ST CAB, FORT CAMPBELL, KY
09/21/2010, QALAT, AFGHANISTAN
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Gabriel Wagstaff of Orem, Utah enlisted in the Army in January 2002. He arrived at Fort Campbell in May 2007. Wagstaff was a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Bravo Company, 5th Battalion.
“Beneath a tough exterior, he had a gentle and kind heart,” longtime friend Pat Hoggan said. He was a graduate of Orem High School and Utah State University, where he earned a degree in Aerospace Technologies.
His father Ron Wagstaff said his son’s passions included football and flying.”He played football with everything he had. And he was one of those rare people who has a dream as a child and then makes it come true. He became a pilot.”
At the graveside service under an overcast sky, Wagstaff’s mother, Suzanne, and Tiffany Wagstaff recited “Look for Me in Rainbows.”
Friend and soldier Pat Hoggan explained Blackhawks are lifelines for deployed troops who depend on them for food, water and letters and packages from home.
“For those men and women, Matt brought the most precious cargo of all: hope,” he said. “He was their connection to the world.”
Hoggan said the flame of hope would live on in the battlefield.
“Matt is not a hero because of the way he died. He was a hero because of the way he lived.”
Tough on the outside, softhearted on the inside is how friends and family described the large-in-stature former Orem High School and USU football player.
“He came across as really grumpy, but he was a big teddy bear,” fellow pilot Trina Moreno wrote in a tribute read by Wagstaff’s mother-in-law, Katy Byam.
Friends described the soldier as someone who not only fixed physical things but relationships in need of repair.
“In every way possible, he had the world’s biggest heart,” said Jeremy Hunt-Loveless, a former teammate at USU. “If he would have been a counselor, he’d have the world’s biggest clientele right now.”
Wagstaff is survived by his wife, Tiffany A. Wagstaff of Clarksville; and parents Ronald and Suzanne Wagstaff of Orem, Utah and many, many friends.