Matthew made it known that he wanted to join the military after the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. He was just 14 years old at that time. Matt joined the US Army in August 2005 after High School graduation. He asked to join the US Army infantry program with the plan of eventually becoming a Ranger. He was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training and advanced Infantry training (AIT). Matthew’s first duty station was at Fort Carson, Colorado and then he was deployed to Iraq in 2006. In 2007, he joined many other soldiers in the “surge” to retake Baghdad from insurgents. Matthew was in many firefights and quickly gained the respect of his fellow soldiers. Matthew was killed in action in a firefight on May 31, 2007, just 10 days after his 20th birthday. His commanding officer explained in a letter how he was KIA: “It was a night mission in Baghdad. Matthew’s squad was entering a courtyard of a known insurgent compound. The squad leader, the platoon leader and Specialist Baylis, carrying the squad automatic weapon, came under heavy fire. The platoon leader was hit. Matthew immediately laid down a base of fire allowing the other soldiers to retrieve their platoon leader and get to cover. Matthew was fatally hit while seeking cover after expending his 100 rounds from the SAW magazine”. His platoon leader suffered serious injuries but has recovered to some extent. The squad leader made it clear and with no doubt that Matthew saved his platoon leader's life and that Matt had saved soldiers’ lives on previous combat missions.
Specialist Matthew E. Baylis was a wonderful son. He is a true American Hero and we miss him tremendously. Our hope is that the money donated in his name helps veterans and veteran families cover some of the expenses of education.