Hero of the Week: SSG Matthew Sitton

Updated: September 23, 2012

By RU Contributor SGT Awesome

SSG Mathew Sitton

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.




  1. Jack Mandaville

    September 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Leaders like this are the reason why morale hasn’t completely gone to shit after eleven years of war. He obviously saw something that many in Washington weren’t seeing, but most importantly: he did something about it. It’s ok to question B.S. if it’s legit. The fact that he cared enough about his Soldiers to jeapordize his own career puts him in the highest tier of hero. Good on him and rest in peace.

    Good post, too.

  2. Mikecarlquist

    September 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    He was one of the most hardcore, squared away nco’s i have ever served with. The firet time i met him he was in the motorpool doing a layout, carrying around stuff just as much as any of his joes. He was there to borrow a p.t. Belt from on those mornings when you came in all dicked up and retarded. He was never the fallout nco, or last person to show up to formation. I never heard him complain about anything, nvm acknowledge what we were doing sucked, and the biggest thing to earn my resepect is he did not yell. When he spoke his men would listen, when his men needed motivation he would give them a grin or a pat on the back. To me he is the leader i strive to be like and the man i wish i was. Paratroopers don’t die they slip away. Airborne

  3. Brianb

    September 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

    When I was in the military I had both and 1LT (prior enlisted) and a Squad leader like this. I would have followed them through hell and back without them even having to ask. My LT would do the training along side us and if he saw something that you did wrong and the NCOs didn’t he would tell you your wrong and show you how to correct it. My squad leader was hard but fair and looked out for every guy in his squad if he thought we were being dicked over he went to bat for us, if he knew a better way to do something he showed us how, and if our personal life was in shambles he was there to offer advice. Its soldiers like SSG Sitton, my 1LT,and my squad leader that draw men together and push on trough all opposition no matter the odds or the shape your in. I hope wherever SSG Sitton is that he knows no hardship or struggle till the ends of days.

  4. All Who have come before, and all who will follow

    September 24, 2012 at 10:15 am

    *A moment of silence…. and a salute*

  5. dodge

    September 24, 2012 at 11:28 am

    What a waste of a life, and for what? His death made us no safer, infact I’d argue we are in more danger without such a heroic nco in our ranks anymore. Curse the war machine.

  6. Mark Green

    September 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    In every war the result is the same, some son of a bitch that is in the rear decides missions without any reguard for the men under him, as a Viet Nam Vet we would fight and loose men every day taking some fucken hill that had no tactical advantage what so ever just because some asshole said to do it, after taking the area and securing it, we would move out and let the fuckers take it back, I believe that the morons that dictate the missions have to go out on the missions that they send us on.

  7. Brandon Southern

    October 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    SSG Matt Sitton was one if the best friends and greatest warriors I have ever known. I had the honor of serving along side him for two years, going to Ranger school together and deploying in the same platoon. A true hero and role model. Matt started a movement with his letter to congressman Bill Young, and it was not until Matt’s death that anything was done about the letter. But now a change is happening, people are seeing the we need to leave Afghanistan sooner instead of later. Lets help out anyway we can by getting this word out to the people, and lets get out service members home! Rest in peace Ranger buddy! Love you bro!! RLTW

  8. Frank's Mom

    August 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    A year has passed since Matt’s “transition to higher ground”, August 2, 2012. I knew this young man personally, he was a father, a husband, a son, a brother and a warrior.

    Matt’s legacy and life lives on through his family, his wife, his young son and his parents and brothers and sister.

    Thank you Matt for your service and sacrifice to this Nation, you will never be forgotten.

Get notified of new Rhino Den articles and videos as they come out, Also, find out before anyone else about new product launches and huge discounts from RangerUp.com, the proud parent of the Rhino Den.

  • Videos (The Damn Few and more!)
  • Military-inspired articles
  • MMA (and Tim Kennedy) coverage
Close this window

Join the Rhino Den / Ranger Up Nation

Read previous post:
TUF 16 and Colton Smith – The House

Editor's Note: We know we are a little behind the times on this, but will get you caught up in...