Marine Staff Sgt. Matthew N. Ingham
25, of Altoona, Pa.; assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Jan. 11 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Also killed were Cpl. Jamie R. Lowe and Cpl. Nicholas K. Uzenski.
(Taken from www.post.gazette.com of Jan. 15, 2010)
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, touched Matt Ingham and his future wife, Yasmin, in different ways.
Yasmin was inspired to become a social studies teacher "so she could work to build bridges of understanding," said her mother, Shamim Rajpar.
Matt enlisted in the Marines and was among the first sent into Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003. He served two tours there, and later was deployed with an antiterrorism task force in the African nation of Djibouti, his mother-in-law said.
His most recent deployment to Afghanistan ended Monday in tragedy and heroism.
According to accounts from Helmand province, Staff Sgt. Matthew N. Ingham, 25, weathered gunfire to radio for air support for his comrades, who were under attack. Sgt. Ingham and two others died. His bravery saved 12 others.
Sgt. Ingham, a 2002 graduate of Altoona High School, was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan, according to the Defense Department.
He was sent to Afghanistan in the fall, his mother-in-law said.
"Loyal beyond belief. Disciplined. Hardworking. Goal-oriented," she described him. "But fun-loving."
An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed hiking, kayaking and camping, and romping with the couple's two chocolate Labs, said Ms. Rajpar, a librarian at Mount Aloysius College in Cambria County.
He loved to ride his dirt bike, and was spotted in Japan by members of a professional racing team who recruited him to take part in a motocross event, she said. He finished second.
Matt met Yasmin while the two were eighth-graders at Keith Junior High School in Altoona. Yasmin earned a degree at Duquesne University in 2006 and the couple lived for a time in Virginia before leaving for Okinawa in 2008.
The sergeant's parents, Gary and Tammi Ingham, who operate a trophy and awards business in Altoona, were with Yasmin at Dover Air Force Base, Del., yesterday for the arrival of the fallen Marine's flag-draped casket.
"I was very, very proud of Matthew, proud to be his mother-in-law, and loved him very deeply," Ms. Rajpar said. "My daughter has lost her best friend in the world."
Also killed in the attack were Cpl. Jamie R. Lowe, 21, of Johnsonville, Ill., and Cpl. Nicholas K. Uzenski, 21, of Tomball, Texas.
Santella Funeral Home in Altoona was handling arrangements for Sgt. Ingham