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Matthew J. La Porte

Date of birth: November 20, 1986
Date of death: April 16, 2007
Burial location: Blacksurg, Virginia
Place of Birth: New Jersey, Hackensack
Home of record: New Bloomfield Pennsylvania


Airman's Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pride in presenting the Airman's Medal (Posthumously) to Cadet Matthew J. La Porte, United States Air Force, for heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Cadet La Porte distinguished himself by heroism involving voluntary risk of life in Norris Hall on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on 16 April 2007. On that day gunfire erupted in the hallway outside of Room 211 and the professor told her students to get down and to move to the back of the classroom to take cover behind desks, Cadet La Porte instead moved to the front of the room and barricaded the door with a large, heavy desk in an attempt to defend the class. When the shooter subsequently forced his way into the classroom, Cadet La Porte, with complete disregard for his own safety, unhesitatingly charged the shooter in an aggressive attempt to stop him, drawing heavy fire at close range, and sustaining seven gunshot wounds. Cadet La Porte's actions helped save lives by slowing down the shooter and by taking fire that would have been directed at his classmates. He sacrificed his own life in an attempt to save others. The exemplary courage and heroism displayed by Cadet La Porte in the dedication of service to his country reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: April 16, 2007

Service: Air Force

Rank: Cadet

Company: Detachment 875

Division: Virginia Tech Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps