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    Navy SEAL Matthew Axelson             The Guardians, Cupertino, CA

     STG2 (SEAL) Matthew Gene Axelson was born June 25, 1976, and was raised in Cupertino, California. Matt graduated from Monta Vista High School in 1994 and attended California State University-Chico, where he earned a degree in Political Science. Matt entered United States Navy Basic Training in December 2000.

    After graduating from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes he attended Sonar Technician (Surface) “A” school in April 2001. After completion, he transferred to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California and graduated with BUD/S class 237 in February 2002. He then attended and successfully completed the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, SEAL Qualification Training and SEAL Delivery Vehicle training.  From there he reported for duty at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, based in Pearl Harbor, in December 2002 and joined Alfa Platoon.  

     In April 2005, Matt deployed with his Special Reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron 10 and the Naval Special Warfare community's prosecution of the Global War on Terror. He was part of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team tasked with tracking a high-ranking terrorist leader when they were ambushed by Taliban forces. Although outnumbered, Matt and the rest of the team “continued to fight the enemy with undiminished zeal. Putting the safety of their teammates ahead of their own, they displayed extraordinary heroism in combat.” 

     During his service Matt was awarded the Navy Cross Medal (the highest award the Navy can give), the Purple Heart Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and many other awards. 

    The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross to Matthew Gene Axelson, United States Navy SEAL. 

    Citation: 

    "For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Axelson demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct-action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, Petty Officer Axelson’s element bravely engaged the militia who held both a numerical and positional advantage. The ensuing firefight resulted in numerous enemy personnel killed, with several of the Navy members suffering casualties. Ignoring his injuries and demonstrating exceptional composure, Petty Officer Axelson advised the teammate closest to him to escape while he provided cover fire. With total disregard for his own life and thinking only of his teammate’s survival, he continued to attack the enemy, eliminating additional militia fighters, until he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. A champion of freedom, Petty Officer Axelson will be remembered for his self-sacrificing actions in the continuing Global War on Terrorism. By his undaunted courage, fortitude under fire, and unwavering dedication to duty, Petty Officer Axelson reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom." 

    For information about the Matthew Axelson Foundation, visit: https://matthewaxelsonfoundation.org/ 

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