Born: July 22, 1982
Fallen: April 5, 2004
Lance Corporal Matthew K. Serio of North Providence, RI was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA. He became a RI fallen hero on April 5, 2004 by hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.
Lance Corporal Matthew K. Serio of North Providence, RI was the second of three boys. Growing up, their home was the gathering place for all of their friends. All through high school, their friends would spend entire weekends in the basement recreation room, going home only to shower until one day, the family repaired the downstairs shower so that they didn’t have to leave at all. Matt was a strapping, good-looking young man with dark eyes, a sharp dresser who insisted on ironing his clothes, even in high school.
Matt graduated from North Providence High School. He didn’t seem to care much for the academics of school but he was an athlete, a star linebacker and offensive lineman on the football team. The former high school football player was considering a career in law enforcement, Serio enlisted in the Marines in 2001, after graduating from North Providence High School. “He wanted to be a part of a team. He found that in the Marines,” recalls his father.
He and a friend enlisted together the Fall of their senior year, in 2000, then reported to boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina a year later. Matt chose Infantry because he felt that it suited him the best. He like the physicality of it and the grit that it required to excel. Lance Cpl. Serio had found focus and discipline in the Marines and he was becoming more of a man. After boot camp, he had orders to Camp Pendleton, CA. As a recruit, he watched the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, on television. His father said the attacks didn’t deter him from service. “My wife would say she tried to talk him out of it. But patriotism was high. He wanted to be a Marine,” the elder Serio said.
Matthew Serio’s unit was one of the first into Iraq at the start of the war. Photos he sent home show him standing with his company atop the ruins of one of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad palaces last April. Serio returned to North Providence a few times after President Bush declared an end to major combat. His last trip home was around Thanksgiving and he brought Iraqi cigarettes home as gifts. He would also tell funny stories about combat, ruined cities and life as a soldier.
“He was always good to have around. He was always upbeat and could get along with anybody,” his father said. Serio was the second of three boys. “We’re proud,” the elder Serio said. “He was a Marine and he had a job to do and he did it.”
Lance Corporal Serio became a fallen hero on April 5, 2004 near Fallujah, Iraq after his unit arrived to help quell an uprising in that city west of Baghdad. He is survived by his parents and grandparents.
His personal awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor (Combat Distinguishing Device), Combat Action Ribbon with Gold Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with Star.
Sites that continue to recognize Matthew’s sacrifice: