LITTLE FERRY, NJ, USA U.S. Marines SGT, I&I STAFF, H&S CO, 1ST BN, 25TH MAR, (RCT-5, I MEF FWD), FORT DEVENS, MA BETHESDA 05/05/2006
Like any mother, Diane Fenton worried when her son shipped off to Iraq.
But her son, SGT Matthew Fenton, was a Marine. And like any Marine, he wanted to go where his country needed him.
So Matthew and Diane Fenton said their goodbyes in March, and the 24-year-old from Little Ferry. NJ promised his mother he would e-mail every day. He made good on that promise, and for weeks, Diane Fenton had regular reminders that her son was all right.
“Until one night he didn’t e-mail,” said Allison Valentin, Fenton’s aunt and godmother.
Fenton died of combat injuries sustained near Fallujah on April 26.
“He was just proud to be serving this county,” said Drew Vagts, Fenton’s uncle.
Fenton grew up in Bergen County, and as a child he used to pretend he was a soldier.
“He always liked playing with toy guns,” said Mrs. Fenton. “He wanted to be a Marine because he wanted to be the best.”
Matthew Fenton grew into a muscular and outgoing young man, his family said. He had brown hair, brown eyes and a reputation for toughness.
“He was someone that you wouldn’t want to mess with,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Fatovic, a friend. Fenton joined the Marines shortly after graduating from high school. His mother was against the idea. But she came to accept it. Being a Marine was her son’s driving ambition. “That’s what made him Matthew,” she said.
On March 9, 2006 he shipped out to Iraq. “He volunteered to go,” his mother said. “He wanted to be with the other Marines.”
When word of his injury spread, Fenton’s family flocked to the Naval hospital in Maryland. Some came from as far away as Ireland.
Diane Fenton held his hand, spoke softly into his ear and played his favorite songs on a radio. “I was with him the whole time.”
At a family gathering in New Jersey everyone told stories of the dutiful young man who died doing what he loved: serving his country.