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Fallen Navy SEAL Matthew Axelson to be honored by Congressman

October 15, 2019
In The News

Navy SEAL Matthew Axelson was a 29-year-old petty officer 2nd class, when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2005.

In June of that year, his team -- SEAL Team 10 -- was assigned to capture or kill a high-ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu Kush mountains, a mission known as "Operation Red Wings" and later memorialized in the book and film, "Lone Survivor." 

During the mission, the team's position was compromised and in the ensuing fight, Axelson was shot in the chest and head. But he kept fighting alongside his teammates until a rocket-propelled grenade struck. Axelson died of his wounds. 

Axelson along with other team members were honored for thier heroism. He and Danny Dietz were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. Michael Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor and Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of the operation, was also awarded the Navy Cross. 

On Tuesday, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who represents Axelson's hometown of Cupertino, Calif., introduced a bill to honor the SEAL. The post office in his hometown will be renamed the "Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson Post Office Building" if the bill passes both chambers and is signed into law by the president.

In an exclusive interview with Connecting Vets, Khanna said he had been trying to find a way to honor the SEAL since he took office.

"Everyone in our district, in our community, knows his story," Khanna said. "He went to local schools, he signed up to serve the country after 9/11, he completed training as a SEAL and he made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

"His story is one that resonates not just in Cupertino, but in all of Silicon Valley and he's seen as one of the heroes of our nation."

Khanna said when he found out the post office had yet to be named, he reached out to the Axelson family "to make sure they were OK with that honor. They were pleased we were honoring their son that way." 

So far, Khanna said he's had a positive response from fellow Congress members and California leaders for the bill. 

"Most people are moved by his story and want to honor him," he said. "I think his story speaks for itself. It's my hope the memory of Matthew Axelson will inspire every young person in Cupertino and Silicon Valley to understand the importance of service to our country and the sacrifices people like him made for our freedoms and our country and that they have a sense of the debt we owe to people like him."