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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Spc. Mathew V. Gibbs

Died August 3, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


21, of Ambrose, Ga.; assigned to the 648th Engineer Battalion, 48th Infantry Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard, Statesboro, Ga.; killed Aug. 3 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near the armored personnel carrier in which he was riding in Baghdad. Also killed were Spc. Jerry L. Ganey Jr. and Sgt. 1st Class Charles H. Warren.

A soldier who loved to be noticed

The Associated Press

Martha Meeks remembers her grandson, Mathew V. Gibbs, as a ham who loved to be noticed — and for his hugs.

“He just had the best hugs anybody could have because he’s a big, tall guy and here I’m this short, little grandma, and he would be so sweet,” Meeks said.

Gibbs, 21, of Ambrose, Ga., died Aug. 3 when a car bomb exploded near his vehicle in Baghdad. He was assigned to Statesboro.

Gibbs joined the Georgia Army National Guard at age 18 to improve himself and qualify for educational benefits. He worked at a mobile home factory before shipping out.

Gibbs was known as “Big Country” and for routinely smoking a “lucky cigar.”

“Specialist Mathew Gibbs was a big man with an even bigger heart,” Capt. David Henderson said. “He loved to joke around, and he could tell a story like no one else.”

Martha Meeks said: “I refer to him as just a sweet teddy bear, big guy, tall. I’m going to miss his hugs and how sweet he is really. He was a good sweet guy. We’re going to miss him.”

He is survived by his wife, Rae, and two daughters, Ariana, 5, and Arissa, 3.

“He is always in our hearts,” Ariana said.

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