Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Matthew

Last Name: Ferrara

Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Torrance, CA
Middle Name: Charles

Date of Birth: 14 October 1983

Date of Death: 09 November 2007

Rank: Captain

Years Served:
Matthew Charles Ferrara

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 2005

•  Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)


Matthew Charles Ferrara
Captain, U.S. Army

On 22 August 2007, then-First Lieutenant Matthew Charles Ferrara was serving as 1st Platoon Leader, Company C, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based at Vicenza, Italy, while deployed at Ranch House in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

On that morning at 0445 Lima, 1LT Ferrara’s unit was engaged in combat action against enemy forces when the Ranch House Outpost at Aranas, Afghanistan, was attacked from all sides by a company-sized insurgent force, simultaneously engaging every post in the perimeter with multiple RPG and small arms fire. 1LT Ferrara, Platoon Leader of the 1st Platoon of Company C, woke up that morning to the sound of intense small arms fire and RPG explosions. When 1LT Ferrara moved outside his quarters he came under effective small arms fire and he saw Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Security Guard (ASG) forces fleeing from their post that had been overrun by insurgents. immediately contacted his higher command to report the situation. 1LT Ferrara deployed his men around the tactical operations center (TOC) and contacted all for reports but quickly lost communication with Post 3 and Post 4. 1LT Ferrara recognized the need to employ fires to disrupt enemy's movement and he directed fire on enemy targets with the 120-mm mortars at Bella Outpost. The TOC began to take effective RPG fire from the ANA post that had been overrun by the enemy and communications were knocked out when an RPG destroyed 1LT Ferrara's radio antenna. Recognizing that the fight would be lost if he could not maintain communications with higher elements, 1LT Ferrara took a radio out of the TOC and reestablished the PLT CP at a location from which he had better awareness of the battle and could better direct the defense.

1LT Ferrara concluded that all the effective fire was coming from the southeast of the Ranch House and that the ANA and ASG posts had been overtaken by the insurgents and that these would make excellent targets for close air support (CAS) when the A-10 Warthogs arrived. 1LT Ferrara explained the enemy situation to the pilots and gave them targets marking his own location with a VS17 panel. He directed air strikes against the enemy while taking effective fire from the insurgents firing 10 meters from his location. His precise reporting allowed the A-10s to strafe insurgents that had advanced to within 10 meters of US forces. He continued to use CAS to destroy the enemy by conducting 2 additional gun runs within danger-close range of friendly troops. The gun runs stopped the enemy advance causing them to retreat from their attack. Despite taking 50% casualties to the US forces from enemy fire, 1LT Ferrara quickly moved from a defensive to offensive posture. He assembled a team and directed them to clear through the rest of the perimeter to find all enemy and collect all casualties. After casualties were evacuated, 1LT Ferrara received a quick reaction force that he employed to occupy fighting positions in the event of another enemy attack. 1LT Ferrara continued to conduct fire missions, call CAS and CCA onto the enemy as they retreated to the south and southeast towards the village of Aranas. 1LT Ferrara's precise assessment of the situation and rapid decision to employ danger close CAS and mortar fire stopped the enemy from overrunning the Ranch House outpost. 1LT Ferrara's calm demeanor under fire and effective reporting allowed his higher command to push assets to him that he quickly employed to destroy the enemy. This action yielded invaluable intelligence with the death of MVT Hazrat Omar and at least 10 of his fighters, as well as enemy video tapes of attack plans, pictures of insurgents, and payroll documents utilized by insurgent commanders. 1LT Ferrara’s courageous actions that day earned him the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

First Lieutenant Matthew Charles Ferrara was awarded the Silver Star Medal (posthumously) for his actions on 22 August 2007. He was killed in action during an ambush on 9 November 2007 at Aranas, Afghanistan. Received posthumous promotion to Captain.

Medals, Awards, Badges and Tabs (Partial List)

Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge
Ranger Tab

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Matthew Charles Ferrara, United States Army, for exceptionally valorous conduct during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM VIII while assigned as a Platoon Leader in Chosen Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team. First Lieutenant Ferrara's courageous leadership and calm demeanor under fire were instrumental in repelling an overwhelming attack by an enemy force three times larger than his own. During three hours of intense combat First Lieutenant Ferrara expertly led his men in the defense of the Aranas Outpost until he was able to call for air strikes danger close to his own position to neutralize the enemy threat. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the Rock Battalion, the Bayonet Brigade Combat Team, and the United States Army.


Captain Matthew Charles Ferrara is buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, Orange County, NY, in Section III, Row D, Site 71A.


Honoree ID: 8681   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image