About Matthew

The Smiling Warrior - Matt-Man




Matthew R. Rodriguez, affectionately known as Matt-Man, was born on March 1, 1994.  He was the beloved first born son of Lisa & Rolando Rodriguez of Fairhaven, MA; best friend of younger brother, Adam; loving younger brother of Lisa Doherty & Lauren Webber; incredible uncle of Abigail Doherty and Katelyn & Alison Webber; and high school sweetheart to the love of his life, Julia Tapper, his fiancee. Matthew attended Nazarene Christian Academy in New Bedford and graduated from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in 2012. Matthew was known by all for his blazing blue eyes, dedication & loyalty to those he loved and his infectious smile. He was nicknamed “The Smiling Warrior.”


Born to be a United States Marine

Matthew was born to be a United States Marine. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was also a Marine during the Vietnam War, and defend his beloved country. In August 2012, Matthew left home to enter the United States Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC. On November 16, 2012, Matthew earned the title of a United States Marine. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Matthew served the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.


Ultimate Sacrifice

On December 11, 2013, Matthew was killed in action in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  He has been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and NATO Medal International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan. He served his country with true patriotism and is a real American hero. Just a couple of weeks before deployment, Matthew got a tattoo that read, “For Those I Love I Will Sacrifice.” Matthew bravely paid the ultimate sacrifice for the love of his country, family and friends. His heroism, sacrifice, honor and memory will never be forgotten.