Matthew G. Axelson
For Services as Set Forth in the Following
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, Konar 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, 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.
Petty Officer 2nd class Matthew Azelson, 29, was part of a four-man team inserted behind enemy lines June 27, 2005, east of Asadabad, Afghanistan. Anti-coalition forces spotted them the following day and promptly alerted the militia forces. The SEALs fought valiantly. Three of the four SEALs were wounded and forced into a ravine, where they radioed for help. An MH-47 Chinook helicopter with eight more SEALs and eight Army troops aboard went to the rescue, but was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed, killing all aboard.
Dietz and Axelson, though wounded, provided cover for their partner to escape. The teammate, whose name is being withheld to protect his identity, evaded the enemy for days before being rescued. He, too, received the Navy Cross at an earlier ceremony.
From ABC News 7:
As the nation debates the high price of war, this Cupertino family stands by the president and his military mission in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Donna Axelson, mother: "I don't think there is anybody who favors war but sometimes I think it's necessary and this war on terror is necessary."
The Axelson's say the Navy Cross they will receive next month in Washington D.C. recognizes Matthew but honors everyone in uniform.
Corky Axelson, father: "There's a lot of people that put their life on the line not to be a hero but just because of what they believe in."
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