Matthew J. Bourgeois

bourgeois purple heart navy cross
BUD/S Class:
SEAL Service:
14 years
Chief Petty Officer
Tallahasee, FL
Naval Special Warfare Development Group
March 27, 2002
Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)
Killed when he stepped on a landmine while conducting small unit training at Tarnak Farms, an abandoned al-Qaeda base near Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was the 31st military member to die in the U.S.-led war on terror, and the second SEAL, behind Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts.
Bronze Star,
Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Purple Heart, awarded posthumously
Other Awards:
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation MedalNavy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)

Good Conduct Medal (3)

Joint Meritorious Unit Award

Southwest Asia Service Medal (2)

Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4)

Pistol Sharpshooter Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Kuwait Liberation Medal


Chief Petty Officer Bourgeois was part of a dedicated team fighting the Taliban, a fundamentalist regime that a U.S.-led coalition knocked from power in Afghanistan in 2001, but has continued to conduct guerilla operations, particularly along the Pakistan border. Bourgeois worked to help ensure al Qaeda terrorists could no longer train in, nor launch strikes from Afghanistan since their lethal attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.

Bourgeois served in the Florida National Guard from 1984 to 1987. He subsequently enlisted in the Navy and trained as a Hospital Corpsman. He served 14 years as a Navy SEAL. Assigned to SEAL Team TWO for his first tour (1989 -1994), Bourgeois deployed to the Persian Gulf War. His next tour was at SEAL Team ONE (1995 – 1999). Bourgeois served with Naval Special Warfare Development Group from 1999 until his untimely death.

Matt Bourgeois was killed March 27, 2002 when he stepped on an enemy-placed landmine while conducting small-unit training at Tarnac Farm, an abandoned al Qaeda base near Kandahar, Afghanistan. U.S. troops were training there to remove and neutralize munitions such as land mines. A second Navy SEAL, not identified, was injured by the mine. Bourgeois became the 31st U.S. serviceman, and second Navy SEAL to die in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led War on Terrorism began October 7, 2001.

Memorials: Matthew’s wife, Michelle Bourgeois, paid tribute to him with the following statement: He had perseverance and determination, which made him excellent at his job. He was always striving to be the best; hence, this made him an outstanding SEAL. Matt knew it was a difficult and dangerous job, but that never deterred him.”

“He loved being a SEAL and working with his teammates, no matter in what circumstances. Matt was quick-witted and sharp. He could bring a smile to your face with a comical phrase, in a snap of a second.”

“Matt would want everyone to remember him as a loving husband and father, a loving son and brother, a true friend and warrior, who never once questioned his commitment and integrity for his family and country. “

A Navy colleague paid the following tribute to Bourgeois:

“I knew Matthew when he was a Second Class Petty Officer assigned to the medical department of (NSW) Group TWO. He treated me as a member of the team, pushing (me) to improve myself physically and mentally even though I was not a SEAL. It was a great loss when he died not only to those who knew him but to many others who will never get to know him. I know he improved the lives of many people he will never meet. He was a good man, friend and warrior. He will not be forgotten. “

A young man aspiring to be a Navy SEAL wrote:

“Thank you for what you and your men have done. You are the kind of person that makes me want to be a SEAL every day. You will never be forgotten.”