The remains of Matthew Charles Hays Freeman will be interred August 26 on the grounds of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where Matthew received his Commission in the United States Marine Corps in 2002.


Matthew, a C-130 pilot was killed in action Aug. 7 in Kapisa province Afghanistan. He had been deployed to Afghanistan on July 23 as a member of an embedded training team in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Matthew was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36 in Okinawa, Japan. He had volunteered to go to Afghanistan to help train the Afghan military. He was on a rooftop directing close air support when he was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze star for his valor and service to our country. “He was a true American hero” said his brother Harrison Hays of Chicago, “but, he is best remembered as a wonderful brother, son, husband and friend.” Matthew was 29 years old.


Matthew is the son of Mark and Paula Hays of Evanston, IL and Gary and Lisa Freeman of Richmond Hill, Ga. Matthew was raised in Richmond Hill and was a 1998 graduate of Richmond Hill High School where he was an honor student, president of the Student Council and played on the tennis team. He was also an Eagle Scout.


Though raised in Georgia, Matthew was born in Lake Forest, IL and retained close ties to the Chicago area through his family. Like his brother, Matthew was a die hard Cubs fan and summer trips to Chicago often included a trip to Wrigley Field. This was the case when Matt visited Chicago on leave shortly before his deployment to Afghanistan. Dressed in full Cubs regalia he and his family attended a game and he heartily joined in the singing of “Go Cubs Go” after the Cubs won their game against the Brewers. The Cubs game was a highlight of his last trip to Chicago. Though he had attended many games, this was his first night game. “The weather was perfect and the Cubs won. What more could you ask for.” said Harrison.


On July 13 Matthew married his long time girlfriend Theresa Hess. Friends since Middle School, they began dating four years ago and were engaged in September 2008 at Hiji Falls in Okinawa. Theresa is an Air Force flight surgeon at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.


In addition to Theresa, his parents and brother, Matthew is survived by his sisters Ginny Freeman and Mary Beth Freeman Macais (Mike) and his in-laws, James and Regina Hess.