SPOKANE, Wash – Sgt. Matthew Stiltz' family just learned on Monday, the day after Veterans Day, that their son, brother, and husband was killed in Afghanistan.
Serving his third tour of duty, the 26-year-old was just deployed to the country in June.
Matthew's was the middle of three children, and his brother and sister tell KHQ he was a protective brother, but was first and foremost a soldier.
He enlisted in the Army as soon as he turned 18, as a senior at Spokane's Shadle Park High School. Two weeks after his high school graduation in 2005, he was in boot camp.
After serving his first deployment in Iraq, he met his wife, Brooke, in the Kansas area where his unit was stationed. They married in 2009, and just a few weeks later, he was redeployed to Iraq.
Matthew's siblings tell KHQ being in the military runs in the family, with long lines of service in the Navy and Air Force. Even his older brother, Jeff, served for a number of years in the USAF.
The last time they saw Matthew was over Christmas last year.
Now, his sister, Kristin, says she's been making friends online with a number of people who served with her brother, who call him a true hero, brave, honorable, and a good man.
Now, his parents and wife are in Delaware, and will return to Spokane with his body Wednesday. While there are no official plans as of yet, his family says it's possible Sgt. Matthew Stiltz will be buried in the military cemetery in Medical Lake, a true American Hero.
This is the official press release from the Department of Defense:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. Matthew H. Stiltz, 26, of Spokane, Wash., died Nov. 12, at Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.