Thursday, May 31, 2007

Matthew Bean reported to have died at Bethesda of wounds suffered when shot by a sniper

A Pembroke soldier who survived two IED blasts in Iraq only to be gunned down by a sniper during house-to-house searches for his missing comrades died yesterday after he was removed from life support Wednesday in Maryland, just days after President Bush visited him and other soldiers in the hospital.

Army Pfc. Matthew Bean, 22, a 2003 graduate of Silver Lake Regional High School in Kingston, was part of the 10th Mountain Division. He was shot in the head May 19 while he and his unit were searching for Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 23, of Lawrence, and another soldier missing since the Americans were abducted by insurgents last month.

“They were looking for their buddy, kicking doors in,” said George Bean, of Macon, Mo., the soldier’s uncle. “He wasn’t afraid of doing his job.”

Last Friday, President Bush stopped and talked with the family and spent a few moments at Bean’s bedside, said the family’s minister, the Rev. Paul Atwater.

“I was told that on Friday morning President Bush met with him and pinned a medal on him,” Atwater said. The White House Web site notes that during Bush’s visit he awarded Purple Hearts to Americans wounded in combat.

George Bean said his nephew suffered significant injuries to the left side of his head and was non-responsive after the attack. Bean survived the injury long enough to be flown to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where his family was at his side Wednesday when he was removed from life support, his uncle said.

“He got a couple awards while he was over there,” George Bean said. “They were proud of him being over there.”

Bean’s grandmother answered the phone at the family’s home yesterday and said his parents were expected home last night.

After a brief stint in college Bean joined the Army as an artilleryman, but when he arrived in Iraq he was reassigned to the 10th Mountain Division, his uncle said.

From the Boston Herald