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Vandegrift, 1st Lt. Matthew USMC- IRAQ

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Vandegrift, 1st Lt. Matthew USMC- IRAQ

Posted: 1210012203000
Classification: Obituary
Surnames: Vandegrift,

Leander High grad dies in Iraq
Marine Vandegrift wanted to serve his country, follow in family's footsteps.
Friday, April 25, 2008

Matthew Vandegrift was true to his word, so much so that friends said that when his father told him not to drink until he turned 21, the Leander High School graduate kept his promise, even after he'd moved to his dormitory at college.

"Even if his dad was never going to find out, there's no way he was going to let him down," Vandegrift's longtime friend Josh Payne said.

It was out of respect for his father, a former Marine, and for his country that Vandegrift joined the military in 2005.

Vandegrift was a Marine first lieutenant when he died Monday from combat wounds, officials said. He was 28 and on his first Iraq tour.

Friends remember Vandegrift as a man who was outgoing and fun but also true to his Catholic convictions.

"He always stood for what he believed in, and he was a guy who always marched to his own beat," said James Twine, a close friend.

Vandegrift graduated from Leander High in 1999. He was an athlete and honor student. After high school, his parents moved to Colorado, and Vandegrift earned a business degree from Texas A&M University.

Friends said that soon after, he joined the military to follow in the footsteps of his father and his brother Barrett. Vandegrift arrived in Iraq in August and didn't seem nervous about going there, friends said.

"He never lived in the future or the past. He always lived in the present, so he never discussed much (about his deployment) outside of 'I'm doing this and that,' " Twine said. "He always took advantage of every day."

Funeral services are 10 a.m. Monday at Horan and McConaty Funeral Home in Lakewood, Colo.

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