September 22, 1984 – March 30, 2019
Major Matthew “Small Talk” Wiegand of Ambler, Pennsylvania was killed in a night training accident on March 30th. Major Wiegand and his co-pilot Captain Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, TN were flying the AH-1Z Viper as part of the seven-week-long Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course. The crash occurred in the vicinity of MCAS Yuma’s training areas. The cause is still under investigation.
Major Wiegand was hand-selected as an instructor pilot to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) and he was stationed at MCAS Yuma, Arizona.
Major Wiegand joined the Marine Corps in 2008 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He held the highest flight leadership and instructor qualifications in both the AH-1W Super Cobra and the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters with nearly 2,000 flight hours. His previous duty stations include NAS Pensacola, Florida; NAS Corpus Christi, Texas; and more recently Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, where he was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons 367 and 469.
Major Wiegand previously deployed in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as twice in support of the Unit Deployment Program in Okinawa, Japan. He also participated in numerous bi-lateral exercises with Joint and foreign partners, including operations in the Philippines and South Korea. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award.
As part of a Navy family, Matt moved many times and leaves family and friends in Miami, Annapolis, Norfolk, northern Virginia, Chicago, and Horsham. A graduate of Hatboro Horsham High School, Matt earned varsity letters in lacrosse, golf, and ice hockey. While his father was Commanding Officer of NAS JRB Willow Grove, the annual airshows were a highlight for Matt and his buddies, thus sparking an incredible passion for aviation.
Working at MAWTS-1, Matt truly enjoyed flying with and working beside many of his closest friends. It has been said that he filled the office with his vibrant personality, pranks, and enough homemade food to feed the entire building.
When Matt was not flying, he could be found on the golf course, watching the Flyers, playing guitar, “tossing the pellet” with friends, rough-housing with his dog, listening to music, or in front of his grill. Matt’s favorite holiday was “Friendsgiving” and he loved bringing people together with a cookout or to watch a sporting event. Fly, Eagles Fly!
Matt is survived by his beloved wife and best friend Katrina, their sweet dog Charlotte “Charlie”, parents Margaret and Captain Roy A. (Skip), USN (Ret.), lifelong friends, and a band of brothers and sisters from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Army.
Matt and Katrina shared a deep love for their dog Charlie, their friends and family, and making each other laugh. They both enjoyed the outdoors, good music, comedy, and classic cars. Matt’s love for both teaching and learning extended beyond his time in the cockpit and the MAWTS-1 classrooms; he was often found soaking up new information and sharing it with anyone who would listen.
Matthew’s final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery. He will be buried with full military honors on August 15, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.