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Matthew Wiegand

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Matthew Wiegand Obituary
Major Matthew M. Wiegand, USMC, 34, of Ambler, PA, was killed in a night training accident on March 30th. Major Wiegand and his copilot Captain Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, TN were flying the AH-1Z Viper helicopter as part of the seven-week long Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course. The crash occurred in the vicinity of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma's training areas. The cause is still under investigation. Major Wiegand was hand-selected as an Instructor Pilot to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) and he was stationed at MCAS Yuma, Arizona.
Major Wiegand joined the Marine Corps in 2008 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He held the highest flight leadership and instructor qualifications in both the AH-1W Super Cobra and the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters with nearly 2,000 flight hours. His previous duty stations include NAS Pensacola, FL; NAS Corpus Christi, TX; and, more recently, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA, where he was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons 367 and 469.
Major Wiegand previously deployed in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as twice in support of the Unit Deployment Program in Okinawa, Japan. He also participated in numerous bi-lateral exercises with Joint and foreign partners including operations in the Philippines and South Korea. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award.
As a MAWTS-1 Instructor, Matt truly enjoyed flying with and working beside many of his closest friends. It has been said that he filled the office with his vibrant personality, pranks, and enough homemade food to feed the entire building. When Matt was not flying, he could be found on the golf course, watching hockey, playing guitar, roughhousing with his dog, listening to music, or in front of his grill. Matt's favorite holiday was ""Friendsgiving"", and he loved bringing people together with a nice cookout or for a sporting event.
Matt is survived by his wife and best friend, Katrina Wiegand (née Goncher - formerly of St. Charles and Batavia); their sweet dog, Charlotte ""Charlie""; his parents Margaret and Captain Roy (Skip) USN (Ret.); Katrina's parents Don and Susan Goncher of Shabbona; Katrina's brother Andrew Goncher of Cortland; and, a band of brothers and sisters from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Army.
Matt and Katrina shared a deep love for their dog, Charlie, their friends and family, and making each other laugh. They both enjoyed the outdoors, good music, comedy, and classic cars. Matt's love for both teaching and learning extended beyond his time in the cockpit and the MAWTS-1 classrooms; he was often found soaking up new information and sharing it with anyone who would listen.
A memorial service for Matthew and Travis was held by the MAWTS-1 Command on April 7, 2019 at the Chapel on MCAS Yuma, AZ. Visitation and funeral services for Matthew were held April 16 & 17 in Ambler, PA. Major Matthew M. Wiegand's final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery. He will be buried with full military honors on August 15, 2019 at 11:00 am. Contributions in Major Wiegand's memory may be made to The Wingman Foundation, 10915 Via Brescia, Unit 909, CA 92129.
Published in Kane County Chronicle on May 2, 2019
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