News: NKC memorial for Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Leggett
Story by Capt. Michael Thompson
NEW KABUL COMPOUND, Afghanistan — Soldiers, Sailors, friends, and paratroopers of New Kabul Compound filled the court yard to honor their fallen comrade, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Leggett. As the noncommissioned officer in charge of the NKC drive team, Leggett was leading new team members through Kabul when he stopped at a checkpoint and was killed in action Aug. 20.
“Sgt. 1st Class Leggett was a paratrooper, he was a 19-Delta, a scout,” said NKC Garrison commander Lt. Col. Gabriel Barton. “He loved those that he served with more than himself.”
Barton said they spent a lot of time talking about driving in Kabul whether long hours on the road or just talking in the base support group office. He understood the importance of not creating more of the enemy by the way we drive in the city and taught this to new drivers, said Barton.
One of Sgt. 1st Class Leggett's rituals before a convoy went on mission was to drink a Dr. Pepper and play Blue Oyster Cult's, “Don't Fear the Reaper,” remembered Capt. Thomas Givens who was welcomed by Leggett when he became the new commander of Operations Company in July 2013. Givens too reflected on Leggett's selfless service, always checking on leave forms and awards for his Paratroopers in the company headquarters.
“If you ever study the lyrics of the song 'Don't Fear the Reaper,' you will see that the overarching message of the lyrics talk about love and learning to accept death,” said Givens. “Sgt. 1st Class Leggett loved his family, loved being a Soldier, he loved those he worked with, and we loved him and we will continue to love him. Not even death can change that.”
As Barton and Givens kneed before Leggett's memorial, Givens placed a can of Dr. Pepper in his honor.
“He loved Dr. Pepper,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Hernandez. “Matt at one point during this deployment was drinking seven Dr. Peppers and four cups of coffee a day. While on drive missions I think he had to take more pit stops than my 4-year-old son.”
“They say with every death comes new life,” said Givens. “Four hours after Matt Leggett departed this world, Sgt. Huckleby welcomed into the world a baby girl.”
Givens, reading the words prepared by Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Huckleby, “Today I stand before you a humbled man. Humbled to have the honor and privilege to serve on two separate occasions with Sgt. 1st Class Leggett. Matt was a man of honor fearless by trade. A cavalryman, a paratrooper, a friend to all, my brother in arms. Anyone who had the honor of traversing the busy roads of Kabul with him would receive a short glimpse into Matt's thought process. As you departed for the gates his theme song would sound throughout the vehicle, 'Don't fear the reaper.'”
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Leggett is survived by his mother, Thea Kurz; father, Thomas Leggett; and two brothers, Rod and Ben Leggett.