HONOLULU, HI, US
U.S. Marine Corps
SG, 3D BN 5TH MAR, (RCT-2, I MEF FWD), 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
12/02/2010, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
“It’s surreal. No one believed it. … It’s something that happens to other people’s families. But I think he’d be glad he died instead of someone else. That’s why he did what he did, so someone else didn’t have to.” Valerie Binion, 17, SGT Abbate’s half-sister.
Family friend Lisa Boyles stated that it was just like Matthew not to take a break. “He loved being a soldier. He was good at it. Confident about it.”
Although his hometown was listed by the military as Honolulu, SGT Abbate grew up in the Fresno area, where many members of his family still live. He attended Buchanan High for three years before graduating from Sierra Charter School in the Fresno Unified School District.
The description of the mission that claimed the life of SGT Abbate best exemplifies the outstanding human being he was:
As the medical evacuation helicopter was inbound, Abbate swept the landing zone for explosives, but the patrol again had to duck enemy fire. Still, the sergeant persevered.
“Realizing that the casualties would die unless rapidly evacuated, Sergeant Abbate once again bravely exposed himself to enemy fire, rallied his Marines and led a counter attack that cleared the enemy from the landing zone, enabling the helicopters to evacuate the wounded. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, SGT Abbate reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service, according to the citation which accompanied the Navy Cross posthumously awarded to SGT Abbate.
SGT Abbate was married and was the father of a two-year old son.