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Matthew Eric Owens
CPL - Army
Matthew Owens

Highest Rank: CPL
Foreign Service Length: 2 years and 3 months
Location of Service: US, Afgjanistan, Iraq
Gender: male
Basic Training: FT. Leonard Wood, Missouri
Service Related Injury: Head, finger
Military Position: Militry police, Team leader
Place of Separation: FT Stewart, Georgia
From City: Westerville
From State: Ohio
Current City: Westerville
Current State: Ohio
Date of Birth: 09/1984
5/22/2003 - 9/22/2008
Honored by Ketevan Svanadze

My War Stories
5/2003 Matthew volunteered for the Army. He lived in Westerville, Ohio and had just graduated from high school. The motif of his joining was the desire of serving his country. He decided to join Army because that’s where he considered he belonged. He had basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and a little after his arrival he learned that he was being sent to the front. He remembers some of his instructors and tells the story that because of his quiet and shy personality, the instructors were twice more strict with him and a lot of times would make him repeat himself several times very loudly. He knew from the beginning, that it was an important part of the training and it indeed turned out necessary and important. During his service in Iraq Matthew was in the 3rd largest city – Mosul. During his first time in Afghanistan he worked in prisons in Bagram. His second time in Afghanistan he served in a lot of places all over the south eastern part of the country. As soon as he got to the war zone, he realized that it wasn’t what he expected. He realized that he really was in big danger. He felt a little fear and realized it was the start of a big change of his life and his personality.
5/2004 As he explained, he and his fellow soldiers had fun and he even remembers one of those times, when he and his group went to the Pakistani border. Even though it was very dangerous, he remembers it as one of the most fun days. He obviously got medals and rewards, but his highest one is “ARCOM with valour” He got this award for protecting and saving the life of an Iraqi general. He got injured several times, but the biggest one was, when the car blew up right beside him and he believes, that’s when his head got injured. He has some other injuries, like his finger, which he can’t bend, act.
5/2005 As Matthew described, he was busy almost all the time, out on patrols and other operations so that made it hard to keep in contact with family, but yet regardless of a busy schedule he had some contact with his family. During his first service in Iraq he had access to the internet. But for the rest of the times, he didn’t have as much internet access, so it was harder to communicate. Food was described as “awful” MRE – “meals ready to eat.” He had plenty of supplies, which were care packages.
9/2008 Matthew remembers the day when his service was over. He describes it as normal, not an exciting day. He waited for this day for a long time, but it turned out to be very normal and calm. He was in Savannah, Georgia. Days and weeks after, he gave himself a big vacation and readjustment time. He tries to live a normal life, just like rest of young people. He watched a lot of movies, drank, ate, ate, ate… and just relaxed. He still is readjusting to civilian life, so he’s not working yet. But after a little time he’s planning to get collage education and use his G.I bill. He made a lot of close friendships while in service and still continues his friendships. He hasn’t joined any veteran organizations yet and he hasn’t thought about it yet. Matthew described the war experience as causing a huge difference in him. He changed all of his attitude towards everything and is a quite different person.
10/2008 After coming back home he was very stressed, but since he recently returned home, he’s still under readjustment process and still feels stressed. He used some things for good luck, such as pictures and bracelets, but his necklace was the one he always kept with him and believed in. There were the days when he used to entertain with his fellow soldiers. They used to play different games, watch movies or make up their own games and entertainment. When he had a break, he came back to the USA, to Ohio to see his family, which he said, made his job even harder later. He had a lot of humorous events, but he couldn’t choose one specific. The group would pull pranks a lot, but usually he was the one to make them. He remembers a lot of his officers and fellow soldiers. Officers were described as erragent and bossy. And he had very many fellow soldiers, out of which some were his friends and some weren’t. He didn’t keep any personal diaries, even though he tried to at first.
5/2009 Matthew Eric Owens is a young citizen of the USA. Even though he’s only 24, he has served in three tours. He fought in Iraq, January 2004-2005 for 11 months; Afghanistan 2005-2006 for 3 months; and Afghanistan January 2007-2008 for 12 months. These years were important years of these wars and each time he had his own, important job. The first year he worked as a gunner, the second year he worked in prisons and the last year he was the team leader for a 2-3 soldier team. As mentioned above, he recently returned back and is still in the readjustment process. He has to pass through a lot of difficulties, but he realizes that it will take quite a bit to readjust to home, after being away from it without any comforts while under fear and stress every day.
10/2009 He describes Iraq as shocking from the beginning, as soon as he got off the plane and felt the hot and heavy atmosphere. Afghanistan wasn’t as shocking because he already experienced war. During his service Matthew saw combat and a lot of casualties of Iraqi, Afghan and American soldiers, among which two were from his unit, but he doesn’t feel readjusted enough for talking about it openly. He was never a prisoner of war.

My War Pictures
Iraqi school Iraqi school