Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Matthew

Last Name: Zeimer

Birthplace: Miles City, MT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Thomas

Date of Birth: 31 August 1988

Date of Death: 02 February 2007

Rank: Private

Years Served: 2006 - 2007
Matthew Thomas Zeimer

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Matthew Thomas Zeimer
Private, U.S. Army

Matthew Thomas Zeimer was born on 31 August 1988 in Miles City, MT, and lived all but three years of his life in that state. Matthew has a twin sister, Tonya.

Zeimer was a 2006 graduate of Dawson County High School, in Glendive, MT, where he participated in Choir and worked in the school's vocational education program, the Jobs for Montana Students Club. According to the teacher of his Government class, Patsy Ferco, serving in the military was his dream. She said he worked hard to join the military and took the military aptitude tests three or four times to get in because it was so important to him.

Matthew joined the U.S. Army on 13 June 2006 and received his Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, OK. After completing his initial training, Zeimer was allowed to return to his hometown of Glendive for Christmas, and received extra time off to help Army Recruiters at his alma mater, Dawson County High School. Friends said he was ‘gung-ho’ about serving in Iraq, telling them that was what he had trained for – that was the mission.

Zeimer was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, GA, and he arrived at Fort Stewart on 18 December. He had missed the 1st Brigade's intensive four-week mission rehearsal in October, when 1,300 trainers and Iraqi role-players from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA, came to Fort Stewart to recreate the most realistic combat training environment the Army offers. However, Matthew did attend Individual Replacement Training, a 10-day course that trains soldiers in weapons use, Iraqi cultural awareness, rules of war, first-aid, navigation and dealing with media.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team reportedly arrived in Iraq the last week of January 2007. At close to 0100 on Friday, 2 February 2007, Private Matthew Zeimer was at Combat Outpost Grant in central Ramadi, and he had been there for less than two hours. Suddenly, he and his fellow soldiers came under an intense and coordinated attack launched by insurgents from nearby buildings and streets.

Zeimer was with Specialist Alan Eugene McPeek who was spending what was supposed to be his last night at Combat Outpost Grant. SPC McPeek was just days away from completing his 14-month tour in Iraq, and PV2 Zeimer was one of the 3rd Infantry Division members set to replace him and the other outgoing soldiers that had completed their tours.

McPeek, 20, and Zeimer, 18, ran together to the roof of the outpost to fight the insurgents. McPeek, the veteran, coached Zeimer and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the young Private as they fought for their lives. But a shot fired from what commanders initially believed was a recoilless rifle, blasted through the reinforced concrete wall near McPeek and Zeimer. The impact killed them both.

Medals and Awards

Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal


Private Matthew Thomas Zeimer, who was killed in Iraq on 2 February 2007, was laid to rest at Dawson County Cemetery in Glendive, Dawson County, MT, with full military honors.

Subsequent Investigation

According to Army officials in April 2007, the unit commanders in Iraq did not at first suspect that Private Zeimer and Specialist McPeek were killed by U.S. forces. However, an investigation by the unit concluded that might have been the case.

The investigation found that the two men were killed by tank fire from a second Army outpost after insurgents engaged both outposts from numerous locations. The tank gunner and commander thought they were taking on the enemy position, the investigation concluded.

The deaths were not a result of negligence, the investigators said. Instead, "a series of decisions and actions by both the tank crews and their command, taken collectively, fell short of the high expectations we have of our soldiers and their leaders." It was not immediately clear whether the tank crews and their command were reprimanded by the Army.

The report said their decisions and actions "directly created the conditions which caused this accident, including deficiencies in training, manning, mission preparation, target validation procedures, and tactical level friendly force marking that, if addressed and corrected, can limit fratricide such as this in the future."

The author of the report, whose name was omitted, said all parties acted prudently and genuinely and attempted to fire only at Army targets. "Although I find that corrective action is required for tank team and crews to learn from the errors made in this incident, I do not find the errors of the (tank commander) or others to be actionable or criminal," the investigator wrote.

An Army spokeswoman said she could not say whether anyone was reprimanded.

"The fact that these soldiers died as a result of fratricide in no way diminishes their sacrifice,"

Major Anne Edgecomb said. "These two young men served their country honorably and courageously. As with all soldiers who have paid the ultimate price, their deaths were tragic."

Most names were blacked out in the report, other than those of the two men who died. The investigators point out that some of their findings were disputed by those involved, but say their perceptions could have been fuzzy because they were not interviewed immediately about the incident.

Honoree ID: 6743   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image