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Cherry Point Marine Moves On After Only Son Dies In Iraq

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Alan and Matt Wyatt
CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Mortar attacks, suicide bombers and even death are becoming a way of life for soldiers in Iraq. For one career military man, though, it is almost too much to bear.

For families of those who died serving their country, their loved ones, however, are not a number, but a story.

Cherry Point Marine Gunnery Sgt. Alan Wyatt is packing up memories. It has been more than five months since his only child was killed in Iraq.

"He just, without hesitation, grabbed his weapon and engaged the enemy," Wyatt said.

Cpl. Matt Wyatt attempted to stop a suicide bomber trying to blast his way onto a compound with a truckload of explosives.

The 21-year-old killed the suicide bomber, but the timed explosives went off anyway. Wyatt and another Camp LeJeune Marine died.

"When the van pulled up that night, I knew instantaneously what happened," Wyatt said. "So yes, you are prepared, but it's never the same."

After his son's death, Wyatt had the chance to re-enlist, but with his son gone, he said his heart was not in it anymore. After 22 years he retired and now is moving on.

"I loved being a Marine, always will," Wyatt said. "But part of me just doesn't want to be here."

The 49-year-old does not want the daily reminders that his son is gone, so he is moving to Maryland for a new job with a private defense contractor.

Last weekend, the Marines posthumously presented the Bronze Star for valor to Matt Wyatt. Wyatt said he was proud, but also sad.

"He's just the son I always wanted to have," Wyatt said. "I'm very proud of him. I miss him, I want him back, I do."

The United States Marine Corps reported only 13 Marines were injured in that bombing. It said Cpl. Wyatt prevented hundreds of deaths.

Wyatt was buried with a Purple Heart on his uniform.


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