Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McClintock has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for valor, for his actions during an hours-long firefight in southern Afghanistan.
McClintock, a Special Forces engineer sergeant, was killed Jan. 5. He will be laid to rest Monday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery.
“He died saving his friend’s life and went out [under fire] knowing that he could get hurt,” McClintock’s wife, Alexandra, told Army Times.
McClintock, 30, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group. He was killed and two others were wounded Jan. 5 in hours-long fighting near the city of Marjah, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
Her husband’s teammates have since told her that he left a compound, under fire, to find a new landing zone so a helicopter could land and evacuate his wounded teammate, Alexandra McClintock said.
“He ran out without even thinking about himself,” she said. “When he got to really do his job and do the job he loved, he came home a happy man.”
Matthew McClintock is also survived by the couple’s four-month-old son Declan.
“When you’re going through this horrific nightmare, you think that you won’t be able to find a reason to smile,” Alexandra McClintock has said. “But when I wake up in the morning, that little boy, who looks exactly like my husband, makes me smile.”
Alexandra McClintock has been tireless in her efforts to ensure people know about her husband.
“Instead of just ... Sgt. McClintock, he’s Matthew, he’s my husband, he’s Declan’s father,” she said.
A serious, skilled and dedicated Green Beret who was trying to go back on active duty, her husband was also funny, silly, romantic and a little bit nerdy, Alexandra McClintock said.
During their short time together, just like any other military family, the McClintocks worked to “cram as many memories in as we can,” she said.
“We’ve crammed so much love and so many memories into these last three years, I just wish that my son got that, too,” she said.
She is grateful to the Army, which “moved mountains” to get Matthew McClintock home from Afghanistan to witness Declan’s birth.
“He got to spend two weeks with his little boy,” Alexandra McClintock said. “My husband, holding his son, he was glowing. It was just surreal.”
Before he died, Matthew McClintock had started the process of returning to the active Army.
The soldier joined the Army in 2006, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He left active-duty in December 2014 after “a very rough Afghanistan deployment when he lost one of his very good friends and teammates,” Alexandra McClintock said.
It took just one drill weekend for her husband to realize he missed the Army, Alexandra McClintock said.
“He loved his job, he was so passionate about it,” she said. “My husband’s a Green Beret. That’s who he is.”
Alexandra McClintock has said she is sure her husband had no regrets.
“I know if he woke up that day knowing that’s how the day was going to go, I know he wouldn’t have changed a thing,” she said. “I know he would’ve gone charging out.”