Jun 9, 2011 8:07 PM by Chris Welty

Acadiana Marine Killed in Afghanistan

Acadiana is mourning the loss of a fallen Marine.

Twenty-one-year old Corporal Matthew Richard from Iota was killed in Afghanistan. His mother says three marines and a sailor knocked on their door in full dress around 6'oclock Thursday morning to deliver the grim news.

His mother says Mathew's dream was always to serve in the military. Alicia Richard says, "The first journal he wrote was in the 2nd grade. The first sentence was 'I want to be a soldier'. He did die a marine. He fulfilled his dream. It's what he wanted. He pursued that with everything.'

She went on to say that Matthew begged to join the military when he was 17, but he had to wait until a week before his 18th birthday. Matthew died a Corporal who had been honored several times for his committment and dedication to his country.

Richard was a 2008 graduate of Iota High School. KATC'S Chris Welty caught up with educators there who knew him well.

"Maybe they made a mistake. I'm sure these are all thoughts and concerns that ran through his family's mind. You have the wrong person, it can't be him," said Regina Gonzales, Richards former math teacher.

Just three years ago, 21-year old Matthew Richard graduated from Iota High School and former teachers say he was an outstanding student.

"He was well respected by his teachers and he was a big football player. He was very tenacious," said Iota High School Principal, Gibson Miller.

From a young age, Richard knew he wanted to become a soldier. Regina Gonzales, said he would share his passion with anyone willing to listen.

"I talked to Matt several times his senior year, even after graduation and he was very much gung hoe about joining the services, and believing in the cause. He wanted to fight and protect our country."

Wanting to protect our country and even paying the ultimate sacrifice for it.

"You hear about it happening to someone else in another town, another city, another state, but not here at home; but it hits at home and it hurts."

"He's a young man that this community can be really proud of."

No word on when Matthew's body will be back in the United States.

Chris Welty



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