Ultimate Hero:

Sergeant Randy Matheny was born on June 9, 1986 in Oberlin, Kansas and lived in McCook, Nebraska his entire life. He graduated from McCook High School in 2004. He decided to join the Nebraska National Guard to be like his Sgt Randy J. Mathenysister, Karen who was already a member of the Guard.

He went to basic training in October 2005 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Upon his return home, he was assigned to the 1074th Transportation Company, of Sidney, Nebraska and in October 2006 his unit was called to serve at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq.

SGT Matheny, 20, was killed on Sunday February 4th, 2007 of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Randy loved all types of music, riding his motorcycle, and driving his Cadillac. His greatest joy was spending time with his friends and being with his family. He has been greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

The medals he received are the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct, National Defense Iraq Campaign Global War on Terror Service Medal, Nebraska National Guard Homeland Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon

American Hero:

Captain Matthew J. Kaplan, USA, Class of 2005, was born in Pawtucket, RI and moved to West Chester, OH, where he graduated from Lakota West High School in 2001.  Cadet Kaplan majored in English with a minor in Spanish, played on the soccer team, formed a triathlon team, edited the sports section of the Brigadier newspaper, and served majoras Assistant Editor of the Gold Star Journal.

A member of the Summerall Guards precision drill team, he also served as Commander of Romeo Company in his First Class Year.  He was awarded the Olmstead Foundation Scholarship and studied at the Escuela Superior Militar (Military College) in Quito, Ecuador.  Upon graduation from The Citadel, Lt Kaplan entered flight school in June 2005.

A Distinguished Honor Graduate from flight school, he was awarded the aeronautical rating of pilot in the AH-64D Apache in October 2006.   His first assignment as a pilot was with the 3-101st Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, KY, where he served as a Platoon Leader.

He was deployed to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan from Dec 2008 to Dec 2009.  In July 2010, Captain Kaplan was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for heroism and with his flight of three Apache helicopters is credited with saving the lives of 37 U.S. Army soldiers on Oct 3, 2009.

Captain Kaplan also joins several other notable Citadel aviators who received the DFC for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight” to include First Lieutenant Horace E. Crouch, Class of 1940, U.S. Army Air Corps, who received the DFC for his participation in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo Japan in 1942.