Camp Pendleton Marine killed in Afghanistan to receive Navy Cross
Sgt. Matthew Abbate, 26, is one of eight former students from Buchanan High School in the Fresno County community of Clovis to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Abbate was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which had 25 dead and more than 200 wounded during a seven-month deployment to Helmand province from fall 2010 to early 2011. Before deploying to Afghanistan, Abbate served a tour in Iraq and was awarded the Purple Heart.
In Afghanistan, Abbate was part of a patrol on Oct. 14, 2010, that was ambushed by Taliban fighters from multiple locations.
"With the squad leader incapacitated and the rest of the patrol either wounded or disoriented, Sgt. Abbate took command," according to the Navy Cross citation.
Abbate led a counterattack, helped evacuate the wounded, and dashed into a minefield to draw enemy fire away from other Marines. He displayed "bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage in the face of withering enemy fire, and total devotion to duty," according to the citation.
Abbate was killed in combat on Dec. 2, 2010.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Matthew Abbate. Credit: Associated Press