Born: November 6, 1981
Fallen: June 27, 2005
2nd Lieutenant Matthew S. Coutu of North Kingstown, RI was assigned to the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas. He became a hero on June 27, 2005 after his convoy was attacked in Baghdad by enemy small-arms fire.
Born in Freehold, NJ, 2nd Lieutenant Matthew Coutu moved to Lake Forest, Illinois in 1994 and to North Kingstown, RI in 2002. Matthew graduated from Lake Forest High School in 2000, where he was captain of his football team and also competed in track, wrestling and shot put. He graduated from University of Maine in 2004 majoring in History with a 3.4 GPA. As a senior in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, he received that organizations highest honor, the George C. Mitchell Award.
“Matthew wanted to be in the military from when he was very young,” said a close friend at the time. “He was very loyal to his country and felt that it was the right thing to do.” Another colleague remembers Matt as “an exceptional young man [who] was head and shoulders above his peers. He was one of those guys who was larger than life, and he just stuck out.”
The University of Maine President said at the time of his passing that the community was saddened and that he “was an outstanding member of the UMaine community, and we will honor and always remember his selfless service to our country.” “He was a great guy, both in the classroom and outside,” recalls a classmate. “He was kind of a man’s man, an all-around great guy in all avenues.” His father reflects on his military service and states that “Matthew was his best platoon leader … someone who earned the admiration and respect of his fellow officers and the men who served under him.” His “loss will be grieved no less than that of a brother, parent, spouse or friend.”
He was assigned to the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade in Fort Hood, TX and became a fallen hero in Baghdad when enemy forces engaged his convoy with small arms fire.
Besides his parents, he is survived by his brother; Derek M. Coutu of Norwood, MA, a half brother; Andrew Coutu of North Hampton, NH, a half sister; Holly A. Coutu of Canterbury, CT, his maternal grandmother; Alice E. Matarazzo of Smithfield and his paternal grandmother; Gertrude M. Coutu of Warwick. He was the grandson of the late Sandino J. Matarazzo and Clarence J. Coutu.