Matthew R Zindars

Principal Jim Moeller said Matthew R. Zindars was always a good student who never got into any trouble. “I always think of him as sitting in the classroom and he always had this mischievous smile on his face,” Moeller said. “He was always well behaved but he always had that grin where you could tell he was up to something and he was always thinking.” Zindars, 21, of Watertown, Wis., was killed July 24 during combat in Diyala province.

He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Pendleton. An outdoor-loving former football player, Zindars liked snowboarding, rock climbing and hunting. He spoke of entering the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to study journalism when he came home. Zindars came home from his first tour in Iraq in October 2006 and volunteered to go back for a second tour in March 2007.

“Matthew said if they were going back, he was going to go with them,” said his father, Kenneth. “They think of each other as brothers.” He also is survived by his mother, Lynn. “He was salt of the earth,” said Kenneth Zindars. “He was a great kid and never gave us any trouble.”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Cpl. Matthew R. Zindars of Watertown, WI:

“Maria and I have the strongest admiration for the men and women of our armed forces who put their lives on the line every day while protecting our country. Corporal Matthew Zindars committed himself to protecting our country and made the ultimate sacrifice. Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew’s loved ones and fellow Marines during this difficult time.”

Zindars, 21, died July 24 while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province, Iraq. Zindars was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, United States Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, CA.

In honor of Cpl. Zindars, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

21, of Watertown, Wis.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died July 24 while conducting combat operations in Rushidiyah, Iraq.

Wisconsin Marine killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

WATERTOWN, Wis. — A Marine who volunteered for a second tour in Iraq because he felt his friends needed him has been killed, his father says.

Cpl. Matthew Zindars, 21, of the southern Wisconsin city of Watertown, died July 24 on patrol in Rushidiyah when a roadside bomb exploded, his father, Ken Zindars, told the Watertown Daily Times.

The Defense Department had not officially confirmed the death as of July 25. He is the 77th Wisconsinite killed in Iraq since the U.S. invaded in 2003.

Zindars graduated from Watertown High School in 2004. He joined the Marines at age 18, while he was still in school, his father told the newspaper.

He returned from his first tour in Iraq in October.

He volunteered to return because all his friends were going back and they needed help, Ken Zindars said. His unit’s duties included security and clearing roadways of explosives.

He was supposed to come home this October.

Ken Zindars said his son was “salt of the earth.”

“He was a great kid and never gave us any trouble,” Zindars told the Daily Times.

He said his son always wanted to be in the military and was “pretty proud to be a Marine.”

Jim Wendt, a Zindars family friend, answered the phone at Ken Zindars’ home. He said Ken Zindars was out. Of Matthew Zindars, he said, “He was a very good kid. Very dedicated to serving his country.”

Jim Moeller, the principal at Trinity-St. Luke’s Lutheran School at Watertown, told The Associated Press that Matthew Zindars attended the school from kindergarten until he graduated as an eighth-grader in 2000.

He described Zindars as a “good, solid, basic kid” with good grades.

He was well-behaved, but he always had a half-smile on his face whenever Moeller saw him, making the principal wonder if the boy was up to something.

Moeller said he’s not surprised Zindars chose to return to Iraq to help his comrades.

“That very much fits in with the kind of kid he was. He had his group of friends and he was always loyal. He was a friend to many people. Whatever way he could help, he was willing to do that,” Moeller said. “I can still see him in my mind’s eye right now. He will be missed. Very much so.”

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Age: 21
Incident Location: Diyala province, Iraq
Branch: Marines
Rank: Cpl.
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Units Base: Camp Pendleton, California