Mass. Marine from Fairhaven dies in AfghanistanAP , Associated Press
Dec. 12, 2013 8:25 PM ET
BOSTON (AP) — A 19-year-old Marine combat engineer from Massachusetts has died in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez, of Fairhaven, died Wednesday during combat operations in Helmand Province, the Department of Defense said.
Rodriguez was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Marine Corps said Rodriguez enlisted in August 2012 and 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.
Rodriguez's father, Roland Rodriguez, told New Bedford's The Standard-Times (http://bit.ly/1fo9tYT ) the family is headed for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where his son's body is expected Saturday. He said his son "made a lot of friends very quickly" in the Marine Corps.
Matthew Rodriguez graduated in 2012 from the Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech plumbing program. A school friend, Ryan Boswell, told the newspaper Rodriguez "was a very funny guy, very likable. He was just a great kid. He would do anything for anybody."
His teacher Oscar Amaral also remembers his "easy going" personality. Amaral told the Standard-Times that Rodriguez had wanted to serve in the military.
"At least he accomplished that, even though it wasn't for very long," the teacher said. "If you want to accept that kind of responsibility, you have to be proud of it."
Information from: The (New Bedford, Mass.) Standard-Times, http://www.southcoasttoday.com