Family remembers a Wisconsin native killed while serving in Afgh - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Family remembers a Wisconsin native killed while serving in Afghanistan

A central Wisconsin native killed while serving in Afghanistan is being remembered for his service.

Army Sergeant First Class Matthew Leggett was born in Wisconsin Rapids and spent most of his childhood there.

The Pentagon said he died Wednesday in Kabul from injuries he received in some kind of engagement with enemy forces. He served with the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

His cousin Jerry Leggett says Matthew comes from a long line of soldiers and serving his country was in his blood.

"Matthew was a dedicated soldier,” said Leggett. “He enlisted when he was young and I believe he served 20 years serving."

The paratrooper was on his third tour of overseas combat. His cousin says Leggett was protecting a highly important person at an airport in Kabul when he was killed.

"Matthew was attacked from someone from the Taliban while protecting this high level person," said Leggett.

The military has not said how Leggett was killed, but Jerry says it was close quarters combat. He says his cousin spent time at the Pentagon, but volunteered to fight in the Airborne Corps.

"He didn't need to be over in the sand or over in Afghanistan, but he did volunteer to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Leggett.

Leggett was supposed to come back home to the United States in just three weeks.

"He knew when he volunteered to go there that what would be asked of him that he would basically be putting his life in danger," said Leggett.

Many in Leggett's family have served their country. Jerry says all of his uncles and many cousins served in different branches of the military.

"America sends hundreds of thousands of troops over to keep peace in foreign countries, and fortunately most of them return,” said Leggett. “Matt gave his life for what he believed in."

Jerry says his cousin's father served in Vietnam and had a career in the military. Matthew's family says he last lived in Colorado before his death.

The Department of Defense says Leggett received numerous awards including a Bronze Star medal and a Purple Heart.

His cousin says his body was brought back to the United States Friday and the family is still making funeral arrangements.
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