CPO (SEAL) MATTHEW J. BOURGEOIS – US NavyHometown: Tallahassee, FL
Date of Death: March 27, 2002.
Conflict: Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)
Rank: Chief Petty Officer
Unit: Naval Special Warfare Development Group Birth: Jan. 18, 1967
Death: Mar. 28, 2002
Navy Chief Petty Officer Bourgeois was assigned to Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, Virginia. He was killed in southern Afghanistan after stepping on a land mine while conducting a small unit-training mission at an abandoned al Qaeda base near the Kandahar airport. Matt grew up in Tallahassee and graduated from Leon High School. He served in the Florida National Guard from 1984 to 1987 before enlisting in the Navy. Matt initially trained as a Hospital Corpsman and began training with Navy SEAL Team 2 in the Norfolk area in December 1989. He relished the challenge presented by the SEALs, the Navy’s elite Special Operations forces. Matt was an incredible man, very funny and very witty. He had a charm all his own, and he loved to be a perfectionist. He was quick to find humor in even the most basic of daily life experiences as well as on the job. Matthew and his wife, Michelle, had an infant son.
Chief Petty Officer Bourgeois was part of a dedicated team fighting the Taliban, a fundamentalist regime that a U.S.-led coalition knocked from power in Afghanistan in 2001, but has continued to conduct guerilla operations, particularly along the Pakistan border. Bourgeois worked to help ensure al Qaeda terrorists could no longer train in, nor launch strikes from Afghanistan since their lethal attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.
Bourgeois served in the Florida National Guard from 1984 to 1987. He subsequently enlisted in the Navy and trained as a Hospital Corpsman. He served 14 years as a Navy SEAL. Assigned to SEAL Team TWO for his first tour (1989 -1994), Bourgeois deployed to the Persian Gulf War. His next tour was at SEAL Team ONE (1995 – 1999). Bourgeois served with Naval Special Warfare Development Group from 1999 until his untimely death.
Matt Bourgeois was killed March 27, 2002 when he stepped on an enemy-placed landmine while conducting small-unit training at Tarnac Farm, an abandoned al Qaeda base near Kandahar, Afghanistan. U.S. troops were training there to remove and neutralize munitions such as land mines. A second Navy SEAL, not identified, was injured by the mine. Bourgeois became the 31st U.S. serviceman, and second Navy SEAL to die in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led War on Terrorism began October 7, 2001.
Matthew’s wife, Michelle Bourgeois, paid tribute to him with the following statement: He had perseverance and determination, which made him excellent at his job. He was always striving to be the best; hence, this made him an outstanding SEAL. Matt knew it was a difficult and dangerous job, but that never deterred him.”“He loved being a SEAL and working with his teammates, no matter in what circumstances. Matt was quick-witted and sharp. He could bring a smile to your face with a comical phrase, in a snap of a second.”
“Matt would want everyone to remember him as a loving husband and father, a loving son and brother, a true friend and warrior, who never once questioned his commitment and integrity for his family and country. “