SAN DIEGO, CA, USA U.S. Navy PO2, COMNAVSPECWARGRU THREE, CORONADO, CA ASADABAB, AFGHANISTAN 06/28/2005
29 year-old PO2 Matthew Axelson of Cupertino, Calif.; assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; killed while conducting counter-terrorism operations in the Kunar province, Afghanistan. Coalition forces located his remains while conducting a combat search-and-rescue operation July 10, 20005 in the Kunar province. His whereabouts had been unknown since June 28.
He was extremely intelligent and what seemed hard and confusing to most was a piece of cake to Axel. If you think of the ideal sniper, that was Matt; he was the ultimate quiet professional. He had a calming presence about him that was contagious. He was an avid golfer who probably could have made the PGA Tour if he set his mind to it. His heart and soul, however, belonged to the Navy SEALs.
He was raised in Cupertino, California, a town with a population of about 50,000 south of San Francisco and east of San Jose. He joined the Navy in 2000 and underwent extensive training before being sent to Hawaii. He was deployed to Afghanistan in March. Matt earned a degree in political science from California State University-Chico. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Gunner’s Mate 1st Dave Albritton emotionally remembered Axelson, a member of SEAL Vehicle Delivery Team 1, as a quiet man who led by example, loved to play golf and showed quickly at SEAL training that he was a cut above.
“No matter how hard I worked at something, he was better,” Albritton said, adding that Axelson was a person who could handle adversity with a typical coolness. “Very rarely would you see him upset.”