KIA December 26, 2005
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
Army CW4 Richard “Matt” Salter was killed December 26, 2005, when his Apache helicopter collided with another military aircraft in mid-air and then crashed in Baghdad. Also killed was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Isaias E. Santos, 28, of Ancon, Panama.
Ever since Matt Salter received a VertiBird toy helicopter one Christmas as a child, he was determined to one day fly a real helicopter. Matt went on to become Chief Warrant Officer in the Army, who not only flew helicopters, but also trained other soldiers to fly the Apache. On the day after Christmas, he died doing what he loved. Matt Salter joined the Army after graduating from Texas A&M University in 1985. He flew an air attack mission in support of ground troops that captured Saddam Hussein during his first tour. After returning, Matt finished building the dream home he had designed with his wife. The family moved into the home on the Lampasas River in May, which included a recently completed barbecue smoker. He had used the smoker twice, cooking his favorite food—barbecue brisket, Texas style. Matt loved to fish and hunt and “probably knew everything about Texas you could imagine,” said his sister, Sara, “including the history of the Alamo, which he could recite from memory.” Matt then left for his second tour in Iraq in November 2005. Sara concluded, “He loved what he did, and he loved his country with the same fierceness that he loved his family.” Fellow soldier and friend, Joe Sandbakken, wrote on his memorial page, “Matt was a natural comedian, I can still remember several hilarious stories he has told. He would literally attract a crowd, what a natural leader.”
Richard Matt Salter is survived by his wife, Janet; sons, Jarrett Matthew and Lane Douglas; daughters, Christina Gabriel and Danielle Leigh; sister, Sara Ward; and parents, Douglas Ladd Salter and Sara Jo Salter.
CW4 Richard “Matt” Salter was 44 years old from Cypress, Texas
Original portrait was presented November 1, 2014 to his family during the annual American Fallen Soldiers Charity Trial even in Donie, Texas