Capt Matthew Charles Ferrara
Captain Ferrara, who held joint United States-New Zealand citizenship, was serving with the United States Army when he was killed in an action in East Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based at Vicenza, Italy. Lt. Ferrara is the first New Zealander killed in military duty in Afghanistan. His uncle, Phil Goff, is New Zealand’s defense minister. Matthew graduated from Torrance South High School in California in 2001 and 14th in his class in 2005 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He majored in economics and Mandarin, which he spoke fluently. He spent a year in Italy before he was deployed to Afghanistan and was about halfway through his one-year deployment. Matthew was the third of five children, including three brothers who are also in the military. A complex young man, he could go from somber and quiet to funny in the blink of an eye, and had a brilliant wit. He was posthumously awarded the rank of Captain.