Larue Co. community mourns loss of Marine killed in Afghanistan


by Melanie Kahn

Posted on February 23, 2010 at 11:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 24 at 12:45 AM

Five Marines from Kentucky and Indiana have died since this month’s offensive started in Afghanistan.

The latest is 20-year-old Matt Hanson from Larue County, Kentucky. He was killed in Afghanistan Sunday.

The entire Larue County community is continuing to mourning the death of Matt Hanson.

All of the flags throughout the county have been placed at half-staff in his honor, as everyone prepares to say good-bye.

Matt Hanson was many things to many people; a son, a brother, a friend and a Marine.  The goal of his life, set when he was very young, was following in the footsteps of decades of family members who had also served in the military.

"Our family has a sense of strong dedication and love for the country and we were always brought up to believe that we should serve the country at some point in time, so we did," said Larry Huff, Hanson’s stepfather.

His mother, Mary Huff, said, "Matt wanted to save the world."
And he didn't want to wait to do it.

He enlisted in the military during his junior year of high school, too young to sign up on his own.

His mother, Mary Huff, had to give written permission, a moment she recalls as bittersweet.

"You worry about your kids no matter what they do.  But you know that would be a greater risk," said Huff. 

Matt graduated from Larue County High School in 2008.

He had only been in Afghanistan for about three weeks when the Huff family got a knock on their door Sunday.

"We all know as military parents what it means when personnel shows us at your door," said Hanson’s mother. 

Larry Huff said, "I went to the door and let the two Marine notification team in and I was sitting there and Mary was standing over there in shock and they told us what happened to Matt."

The Marines told them Matt was killed by enemy fire.

Now, pictures of Matt crowd the walls of the Huff's home, along with memories of the man who died too soon.

"He's paid the ultimate sacrifice.  His mission is complete now.  He's gone to heaven and he'll rest in peace," said Huff. “He's a hero, always will be."

Matt's brother is also serving in the military and accompanied Matt's body back to Dover, Delaware Tuesday.

The family says Matt will be buried in Buffalo, where he grew up.  Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.