Sergeant First Class Matthew Loren Rierson, a member of 1st SOCOM Operational Detachment Delta was killed in action during a mortar attack on the compound in Mogadishu, Somalia, On October 6th 1993. Matthew Loren Rierson was born to Loren and Kay Rierson on 29 September 1960, in Nevada, Iowa. He graduated from Ellsworth junior college in 1981.
On 18 February 1982, he entered the United States Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He completed Infantry one stop unit training and Basic Airborne at Fort Benning, GA. During his career with the United States Army, Sergeant First Class Rierson also served with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington.
Rierson successfully completed the following military courses of instruction: Ranger, Jungle Warfare training, Scout swimmer, Static line Jumpmaster, Primary, Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned officer, Combat diver, Combat divers supervised, Advanced land navigation, Military freefall, Military freefall jumpmaster, and Battlestaff. In recognition of Matthew's outstanding career, he was promoted to Sergeant First Class on 1 April 1990.
During his distinguished career with the United States Army, he received the following awards and decorations: the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, The Army Achievement Medal (first oak leaf cluster), the Army Good Conduct Medal, (third award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead Device and Bronze Service Star, The noncommissioned Officer Professional Award, the Valorous Unit Award( first oak leaf cluster), the Combat infantry Badge, The Expert Infantry Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge, the SCUBA Divers Badge, and the Royal Thai Army Airborne Wings. Sergeant First Class Rierson is survived by his wife Patricia, and his sons, Jacob and Kaleb.
Excerpts from the Des Moines Register, article by Ken Fuson:
That he showed the way would not surprise his classmates at Nevada High School in Nevada, Iowa, where Rierson graduated in 1979. He was a football co-captain, successful wrestler, dedicated weight-lifter and popular student leader. A memorial service in his honor filled the high school gymnasium in the Story County town of 6,650.
Rierson loved the Army. The harder the challenge, the more he embraced it, from jumping out of airplanes to competing in shooting competitions.
Matt Rierson survived the two-day Battle of Mogadishu on October 3-4, 1993. He returned to the battle scene in a frantic attempt to rescue fallen friends or recover their bodies. He followed the Ranger Creed: "Never shall I fail my comrades."
Says Trish Rierson, Matt's widow and high school sweetheart, "These men weren't super-heroes. They were husbands and fathers and average Joes who went to church on Sunday and signed up for Neighborhood Watch. They taught their children how to throw a spiral and catch a fish. Then all of a sudden they go to work, and it's like this new personality comes out. They were just so determined that you can't leave anybody, no matter what."
A few days after the big battle, on Oct. 6, Matt Rierson was killed by a stray mortar shell that landed near him as he chatted with other soldiers near the airport hangar.
Rierson had just turned 33 and was survived by two boys who were postponing his birthday cake until he returned home.