Hero of the Week: SSG Matthew Sitton
By RU Contributor SGT Awesome
It is with a heavy heart that I bring to you the Hero of the Week: 26 year old, Ranger qualified, airborne sniper, Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton, HHC, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
This year, during Matt’s third tour in Afghanistan, his 25 man platoon was tasked over and over with running extremely dangerous and “pointless” patrols in Kandahar province. As a good non-commissioned officer he went to his chain of command repeatedly to voice his concern that these missions were needlessly endangering his troop’s lives; while still continuously throwing on his kit and go on the two-a-day patrols through IED-laden grape fields, whose purpose he didn’t understand, with his undermanned platoon.
Sometime during the summer Matt decided enough was enough and he chose to write to Congressman Bill Young about these conditions, not for his own safety, but for the troops he was responsible for as reported by ABC News. In it he described how his brigade was averaging an amputee a day and how his Soldiers’ lives were repeatedly being put in precarious positions without any merit. He mentioned a time when a local farmer’s dam broke, flooding the platoon’s AO… with the piss and shit from their slit trenches; yet they still did their two a day patrols covered literally in their own filth. Multiple Soldiers got sick which hampered their already diminished combat readiness.
SSG Sitton jumped the chain of command, a big no-no in the military, but he felt he had no choice. He had lost friends before and was happy to give his own life for his country, but to see his Soldiers put in harm without any understandable gain was too much. He risked his entire military career by doing what he felt was in the best interests of those for whom he was responsible.
On August 2nd, 2012 while out on mission, SSG Sitton and 1SG Russell Bell were killed by an IED near Zharay, Kandahar, Afghanistan. SSG Sitton leaves behind his wife Sarah and 9 month old son Brodey.
I cannot say whether Matt was right or wrong in what he chose to do as I was not in his shoes, but what I can do is commend him for continuing to accomplish the mission while literally doing everything in his power to look out for the welfare of his troops.
By all accounts, SSG Matthew Sitton epitomized everything one could hope for in a non-commissioned officer. The Army, and America, is a lesser place without him.
My thoughts are with his family and friends during this trying time and I wish them to know that Matt’s example of selfless service will resonate deeply with many people for years to come.