Fallen Digger Corporal Mathew Hopkins a proud new dad - widow
By Ian McPhedran
The Daily Telegraph
March 18, 2009 04:37pm
A SOLDIER killed in Afghanistan on Monday has been named as 21-year-old Corporal Mathew Hopkins, married with a young son.
Corporal Mathew Hopkins spent just four days with his new son Alex before duty called him back to Afghanistan and an untimely death at the hands of Taliban insurgents.
His devastated wife Victoria paid a brief tribute to her 21-year-old husband who died in a hail of enemy bullets during an ambush in Afghanistan on Monday.
He was on his second tour of duty in southern Afghanistan.
"Mat had the most important job - he was a father to our son Alex, my husband and my best friend," she said.
"He was excited about becoming a daddy. He only got to spend four days with our son when he was born before he had to go back overseas. I'm so glad that Mat got to meet his son and experience fatherhood."
The section commander was on patrol with a joint Australian-Afghan National Army patrol when it was ambushed by about 20 enemy fighters near the village of Kakarak about 12km north of the base at Tarin Kowt.
The young soldier from the Darwin based 7th Battalion was a member of an Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) charged with training local troops.
He was treated by patrol medics for severe gunshot wounds and evacuated to the Tarin Kowt field hospital.
Defence chief Angus Houston said he was pronounced "dead on arrival", but Defence revised that assessment saying he "died shortly after arriving at the hospital".
Air Chief Marshal Houston said that the Defence organisation would do everything it could to support the Hopkins family as they dealt with their terrible loss.
"Mathew was a fine, professional and courageous soldier," ACM Houston said.
"He died while serving his nation and his sacrifice should never be forgotten. This loss is felt heavily by the wider Defence Community. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his mates and colleagues.''
Corporal Hopkins was the ninth Australian to die in Afgahnistan since 2002.
More than 60 diggers have been wounded.