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The three service members killed Friday in Jordan were Green Berets from 5th Special Forces Group, the Army announced Sunday.
The Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based soldiers — Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe and Staff Sgt. James Moriarty — died Friday after they reportedly came under fire while entering a Jordanian military base. The incident is still under investigation.
The three soldiers had almost 20 years of service between them.
Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Missouri, had more than six years of service.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
Lewellen, the second son of three children and husband to Renee Laque, was a standout high school athlete who was enrolled at the University of Kansas when he decided to serve his country, his family said in a statement.
He joined the Army in February 2010, graduating from Special Forces training in November 2012. After a 2014 deployment to Afghanistan, Lewellen was on his second deployment to Jordan when he was killed, according to his family.
"Matt was a born leader, a true American," his parents said, according to the statement. "He wanted to be a soldier since third grade, and he was doing what he loved to do."
Lewellen, who was known for his sense of humor, "was proud to serve his country, and he loved the men and women with whom he served," his family said.
Services for Lewellen will take place in his hometown of Kirksville. He will be buried at Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville, Missouri, his family said. The family also asked, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in Lewellen's name to nonprofit organizations that serve military families.
Sergeant First Class Matthew Charles Lewellen, 27, from Kirksville, Missouri, passed away November 4th while serving our country in Jordan. He was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Matt was born at Grim Smith Hospital on January 15th, 1989 in Kirksville to high school sweethearts, Chuck and Cindy Lewellen. He graduated from Kirksville High School in 2007 as the Prom King and a standout athlete for the Tigers football and track teams. He attended Truman State University and was enrolled at the University of Kansas when he decided to follow his dream and serve his country.
Matt joined the Army in February 2010 and after training for Infantry, attended the Airborne School, and graduated from Special Forces training on November 1, 2012. He was stationed at Fort Campbell and lived in Nashville with the love of his life, Renee Laque and their dog Charlie.
This was Matt’s second deployment to Jordan, and he left the States on October 22, 2016. His first deployment to Jordan was the first half of 2015, and he returned from there to serve as best man for his brother Andrew’s marriage to Meredith Clougherty in July 2015. He served in Afghanistan in 2014, returning in time to surprise his younger sister Danielle for her college Senior Day at Truman State University.
Matt was known for his sense of humor and his ability to inspire others to achieve any goal they faced. Matt was a born leader, a true American. He wanted to be a soldier since 3rd grade, and he was doing what he loved to do. He was proud to serve his country, and he loved the men and women with whom he served. We are so proud of Matt and all he accomplished. He was a man of faith and action.
Matt and his family are members of Rehoboth Baptist Church. Matt accepted Jesus Christ and was baptized at age 5. He is survived by his parents Charles and Cynthia Lewellen, sister, Danielle, brother, Andrew, and his wife, Meredith; the love of his life, Renee Laque, grandparents, Charles and Dianna Lewellen of Kirksville, Jim and Wilma Gardner of Kirksville, and Sue and Dick Johnson of Baring; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Visitation will be held at 5:00pm on November 18th at Kirksville Primary School. Services will be held at 11:00am on November 19th at Kirksville Primary School, and Matt will be buried with full military honors at Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville, Missouri immediately following the funeral. Honorary pallbearers will be Andrew Lewellen, Jake Sevits, Logan Schmitz, Kris Nelson, John Blesz, and Kris Collins. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Matthew Lewellen Memorial Fund to nonprofit organizations serving military families such as Task Force Dagger, the Fisher House, and Special Forces Association, Chapter 38.
Matt Lewellen’s Military Awards: Bronze Star Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), NATO Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster).