Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Matthew Sinsigalli, who served as an infantryman during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Seeking something new and exciting that could also improve himself, Matthew Sinsigalli joined the Army on June 21, 2001. At first, basic training at Fort Benning was a scary experience, especially after a bite from a brown recluse spider put him in the hospital for three days, but Sinsigalli soon fell into the rhythm of the military life. His first assignment was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with the 101st Airborne Division for about a year and a half.
In March 2003, Sinsigalli deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed, he served as the company’s communications specialist, operating the radio communications system on missions and patrols. His company’s first job was to capture an airfield outside of An-Najaf. Although there was little resistance at night, the company was met in the morning with Soviet-era anti-aircraft missiles, requiring the soldiers to put on full chemical suits. Later, the company joined a brigade-wide operation to capture the city.
In Mosul, Sinsigalli’s company helped provide security at gas stations, setting up to coordinate and control propane gas cylinder exchanges and manning observations posts to watch for insurgents setting up improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Sinsigalli was often involved in snatch and grab night missions to take out high-profile targets. From July 22 to July 23, 2003, Sinsigalli participated in Operation Tapeworm. His company thought the mission would be short but soon found themselves waiting until the next day to engage in a six-hour firefight that eliminated two of Saddam Hussein’s sons.
As the only company to remain separate from all the other companies in Iraq, Sinsigalli and his fellow soldiers lived in fighting positions and often ran low on water. Still, he managed to find some enjoyable time during his deployment. During his time in Baghdad, he met Geraldo Rivera. The company adopted dogs as pets and occasionally watched DVDs on portable players. Sometimes, the soldiers played little pranks on each other. One of the most common pranks involved Vietnam-era phones that would produce a shock when pushing the button to talk.
After returning from Iraq, Sinsigalli returned to serve at Fort Campbell. In an interview with the Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project, he described his discharge in June 2009 as bittersweet because his fellow soldiers felt like brothers.
Upon reentering civilian life, Sinsigalli returned to his native Glastonbury, Connecticut, and worked as a police dispatcher. He used the GI Bill and Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation program benefits to pay for his return to school in the fall of 2012. Sinsigalli earned a degree in radiology and is currently working as a cardiovascular specialist and radiology technologist at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. He is also a part of the Wounded Warrior Project.
Thank you for your service!
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Writer: Ashli Lucio
Editors: Katherine Berman and Christopher Wilson
Fact checker: Lia Sansoucy
Graphic artist: Roni Ruadap