Meet the School’s Namesake

First Lieutenant Matthew Vandegrift

Matthew’s Story

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Matthew R. Vandegrift grew up in Steiner Ranch. He was the kid in the middle of the rock fight, the one who dropped a cat out a second-story window to see if it really would land on its feet, and the one who put the emergency brake on a car that was rolling down a hill after he saw it in a James Bond movie. According to his brother, Barrett, “He was never the guy to start the fight, but he was always the one to finish it.” Matthew participated in extracurricular sports activities, was an excellent athlete and competitor, and he graduated with honors from Leander High School in 1999.

Matthew earned a degree in international business, Summa Cum Laude, from Texas A&M University in 2003. While at Texas A&M, Matthew maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and participated in the Midshipmen Battalion NROTC program. Following graduation, Matthew courageously decided to continue the Vandegrift family tradition of serving America, by joining the United States Marine Corps in 2005 where he was trained as an artillery officer.

First Lieutenant Vandegrift, stationed in Iraq in August 2007, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, NC. Matthew was part of a team responsible for training Iraqi security forces. Through his service, Matthew played a critical role in establishing Iraqi sovereignty by preparing Iraqi security outfits with the knowledge and expertise necessary to survive as a free and independent democracy. First Lieutenant Vandegrift was killed on April 21, 2008 while conducting combat operations in Basra, Iraq, just four days after celebrating his 28th birthday. His decorations include the Iraqi Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Nation Defense Service Medal.

Vandegrift fulfilled a lifelong desire to serve his country and to follow in the footsteps of his father, Dutch, who served in the Marine Corps from 1963 to 1971, and his brother, Barrett, who is a captain and helicopter pilot with the Air Force. He fought to protect and preserve the freedom and democracy that we as Americans enjoy. First Lieutenant Vandegrift exemplified what it is to be an American, and he will forever be remembered for his sacrifice and patriotism.

The LISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name their fifth high school in honor of Lt. Matthew Ryan Vandegrift, whose memory and sacrifice was honored by the Four Points community at a formal dedication ceremony at the new facility which bears his name, Vandegrift High School.

Matthew Vandergrift was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado, with full military honors. His family has created the Vandegrift Family Foundation to fund Scholarships to send deserving Vandegrift High School graduates to Texas A&M University.

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