First Class Matthew Loren Rierson, a member of 1st
SOCOM Operational Detachment Delta was killed in
action during a mortar attack on the compound in
Mogadishu, Somalia, On October 6th 1993. Matthew
Loren Rierson was born to Loren and Kay Rierson on
29 September 1960, in Nevada, Iowa. He graduated
from Ellsworth junior college in 1981.
February 1982, he entered the United States Army at
Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He completed Infantry
one stop unit training and Basic Airborne at Fort
Benning, GA. During his career with the United
States Army, Sergeant First Class Rierson also
served with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger
Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington.
successfully completed the following military
courses of instruction: Ranger, Jungle Warfare
training, Scout swimmer, Static line Jumpmaster,
Primary, Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned officer,
Combat diver, Combat divers supervised, Advanced
land navigation, Military freefall, Military
freefall jumpmaster, and Battlestaff. In recognition
of Matthew’s outstanding career, he was promoted to
Sergeant First Class on 1 April 1990.
distinguished career with the United States Army, he
received the following awards and decorations: the
Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple
Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the
Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation
Medal, The Army Achievement Medal (first oak leaf
cluster), the Army Good Conduct Medal, (third
award), the National Defense Service Medal, the
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead
Device and Bronze Service Star, The noncommissioned
Officer Professional Award, the Valorous Unit Award(
first oak leaf cluster), the Combat infantry Badge,
The Expert Infantry Badge, the Ranger Tab, the
Master Parachutist Badge, the SCUBA Divers Badge,
and the Royal Thai Army Airborne Wings. Sergeant
First Class Rierson is survived by his wife
Patricia, and his sons, Jacob and Kaleb.
Photo courtesy of
Hawk Down '93
from the Des Moines Register, article by Ken
Sgt. First Class Matt Rierson led the first assault
team that landed in Mogadishu, and he supervised the
capture of several prisoners.
That he showed the way would not surprise his
classmates at Nevada High School in Nevada, Iowa,
where Rierson graduated in 1979. He was a football
co-captain, successful wrestler, dedicated
weight-lifter and popular student leader. A memorial
service in his honor filled the high school
gymnasium in the Story County town of 6,650.
Rierson loved the Army. The harder the challenge,
the more he embraced it, from jumping out of
airplanes to competing in shooting competitions.
Matt Rierson survived the two-day Battle of
Mogadishu on October 3-4, 1993. He returned to the
battle scene in a frantic attempt to rescue fallen
friends or recover their bodies. He followed the
Ranger Creed: "Never shall I fail my comrades."
Says Trish Rierson, Matt’s widow and high school
sweetheart, “These men weren't super-heroes. They
were husbands and fathers and average Joes who went
to church on Sunday and signed up for Neighborhood
Watch. They taught their children how to throw a
spiral and catch a fish. Then all of a sudden they
go to work, and it's like this new personality comes
out. They were just so determined that you can't
leave anybody, no matter what."
A few days after the big battle, on Oct. 6, Matt
Rierson was killed by a stray mortar shell that
landed near him as he chatted with other soldiers
near the airport hangar.
Rierson had just turned 33 and was survived by two
boys who were postponing his birthday cake until he
have information on Matt Rierson
and/or a photo, please send it to
the USMRA at