Orem soldier laid to rest

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SOUTH JORDAN -- An Orem soldier killed in the line of duty has been laid to rest.

It's a solemn day for those who knew Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Wagstaff, who died in Afghanistan Sept. 21 when the Army helicopter he was on went down. Nine NATO servicemen were killed, including five Americans.

Wagstaff died while serving as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in the Army's 101st Airborne Division. Many tributes to Wagstaff were offered Tuesday as his funeral services were held. Beyond his military service of the past decade, including three tours of duty in combat, he was remembered for his ability to be a friend to everyone.

As a motorcycle escort led the funeral procession, people stood out of respect for the 34-year-old soldier who was killed in the line of duty.

Orem soldier laid to rest

"As you can imagine, it is a very solemn day, but one where we are focused on celebrating Matt's life, who Matt was and who he is as a person," said family friend Kelvin Brock.

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, an organization of motorcyclists who attend the funeral services of fallen American servicemen, joined in honoring Wagstaff's service.

"We want to make sure his family knows this country is grateful for their service and his sacrifice," said Patriot Guard Rider Wayne Hunting. "We want to make sure they know they are loved and it's not in vain."

"It's an absolute honor to be invited by the family to take part in this," said Ken Plante, also with the Riders. "I can't express my gratitude to the family and what's been given to us by these soldiers."

Following the funeral service in South Jordan, Chief Warrant Officer Wagstaff received full military honors at the Utah Veterans Memorial Park at Camp Williams, where he was interred.

A military honor guard offered the fallen soldier full military honors of a 21 gun salute, taps and the folding of the American flag. A helicopter flew over the cemetery as a final tribute to a Blackhawk helicopter pilot who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"It certainly has done a great deal for the family to recognize the respect and honor everyone has given to Matt and his service to our country," Brock said.

Wagstaff is survived by his wife of less than a year, along with his parents.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com


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