Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Randy Matheny dies of injuries from I.E.D.

A Nebraska Army National Guard soldier from McCook has died in Iraq.

Randy J. Matheny, 20, was killed Sunday in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near his armored vehicle, Capt. Kevin Hynes, a Guard spokesman, said today.

Matheny, who served as a gunner, was posthumously promoted from specialist to sergeant, Hynes said.

Two other Nebraska Guard soldiers were injured in the blast, Hynes said. The Guard would not release their names, information about their condition or where they were being treated.

Matheny graduated in 2004 from McCook High School, said Jerry Smith, the school's principal.

He was a solid student who worked hard to keep up his studies while working part-time at a lawn care company, said Bill Beckenhauer, a science teacher.

"Like a lot of kids out here, he managed to hold down a job and make it through high school," Beckenhauer said. "He was very laid back, a really nice kid."

Matheny joined the Nebraska Guard in March 2005 and trained as a heavy vehicle driver at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Matheny was assigned to the 1074th Transportation Company, based in North Platte and with detachments in Sidney, Ogallala and Broken Bow.

The 1074th mobilized for duty in Iraq in July and has been based at al-Taqaddum Air Base, about 60 miles west of Baghdad.

The unit's 150 soldiers transport dry and refrigerated goods, water and petroleum and provide security for convoys over Iraq's dangerous highways.

Matheny's survivors include his parents, Gary Matheny and Jan Collins of McCook.

From the World Herald