Tiffany was one of my neighbors in Tennessee. She’s a great person and a wonderful neighbor. Over the last few years, she’s gone through some rough times. A nasty divorce, trying to sell her house during the crash of the market, and the list goes on for a bit. During this time, she met an Army helicopter pilot named Matt. A jovial fellow who’s fun to be around, a handyman like me, generous and again, the list goes on.
Matt and Tiffany fell in love, got engaged, and tried to live a normal life after Matt got out of the Army. Unfortunately, the tanked economy was not easy for a helicopter pilot to find enough decent work. The Army called up Matt and begged for him to re-enlist as they needed good pilots and he was an experienced combat pilot they hated to see leave. He agreed to return to service at the same time he and Tiffany tied the knot. Shortly afterwords, he shipped out to Afghanistan for another tour of duty.
Once Matt’s tour of duty was up, he was going to train helicopter pilots by conducting training exercises based on his experiences to better prepare our newer pilots for what they would expect out in the field. It was a job he wasn’t really looking forward to performing because like most pilots, he loved to fly and had considered the teaching job a “grounded desk jockey” position. On the bright side, though, he could spend more time with his wife and he was looking forward to that more than anything.
I just learned that a few weeks ago, while a passenger on this flight and only one week from returning home, the helicopter Matt was riding in crashed, killing him and eight others. My heart goes out to Tiffany and to Matt’s family. Here’s to you Matt! /salute Thank you for your service and the ultimate price you paid us. You will be sorely missed.