IN LOVING MEMORY
S/Sgt Matt Ingham
We will never forget your sacrifice
God Bless you brother.
Exerpts taken from Altoona Mirror
kid, Matt Ingham of Juniata wanted to be a game warden. But 9/11 triggered
his martial spirit, and he signed
up for a way of life where the quarry shoots back. Early Monday, the ultimate consequence of that decision came due when Marine
Staff Sgt. Ingham, 24, died with two comrades in an ambush in southern Afghanistan.
When two of Matt's fellow Marines in dress uniform walked through the door of his home office
on North Fourth Avenue Monday afternoon, Matt's father, Gary, suspected the worst.
"Please tell me he's injured," he recalled saying. But he knew by the set of their faces that wasn't it.
"We're sorry to inform you ... " they began. He flung his glasses down, breaking one of the stems.
Still, the visitors were kind, waiting two-and-a-half hours until Matt's mother, Tammi,
came home from work at the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society so they could tell her in person.
On Tuesday, Matt's platoon leader called from Afghanistan. Almost immediately, Gary and Tammi began crying.
The platoon leader spoke of the ambush that killed Matt and two fellow Marines he'd stationed with him in an
exposed position, anticipating an assault. He said Matt remained calm and called for helicopters.
"He saved the rest of our lives," the platoon leader said.
a 2002 Altoona Area High School graduate, had already done two tours in Iraq
and was among the first Marines there at the beginning of the war.
He went to Afghanistan in the fall, part of a reconnaissance outfit in the Third Marine Division.
Gary didn't like the idea of his son in combat. "But he was his own man," Gary said.
He said his son was good with a gun and could shoot a bull's-eye at a thousand yards.
He liked the structure of the military, and he was a "physical kid."
"His arms are like this," Gary said, making a circle with his hands about 7 inches in diameter.
He played football in junior high school, but motocross was his love.
He became a professional motocross driver in Okinawa, Japan, where he was stationed.
The platoon leader spoke of riding with Matt up and down hills until he had to get off.
In 2006, Matt, who has a sister, Monica, who lives in Phoenix, married Yasmin Rajpar,
whom he met in eighth grade at Keith Junior High School."They were the loves of each others' lives,"
Shamim, an Altoona native who lives in Altoona with her husband, Haider, a native African she met in the Peace Corps said Yasmin's mother.
They adopted Yasmin as a baby from Pakistan and raised her here. Matt "absolutely adored" their daughter, she said.
They were best friends, "like two puppies from the same litter," she said.
They hiked and kayaked together in Okinawa, where he was stationed. They saw life as an adventure, she said.
She was a secondary school teacher taking courses for a master's degree. Despite the divergence of their life goals, they supported each other's ambitions, she said.
The men of 3rd Recon Bn Assoc.extend our sincere condolances to the Ingham family.
May God Rest His Soul