Matthew Axelson Height, Age, Death, Wife, Family, Biography & More

Quick Info→
Wife: Cindy Oji Axelson
Hometown: Cupertino, California
Age: 29 Years

Matthew Axelson

Full nameMathew Gene Axelson
Other name(s)Matthew “Axe” Axelson, Matt “Axe” Axelson
Nickname(s)Matt, Mikey, Axe
ProfessionUnited States Navy SEALs operative
Known forParticipating in Operation Red Wings (2005)
Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)in centimeters- 180 cm
in meters- 1.80 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 11”
Weight (approx.)in kilograms- 65 kg
in pounds- 143 lbs
Eye ColourBlue
Hair ColourDark Brown
Military Career
Service/BranchUnited States Navy
Rank (at the time of death)Petty Officer Second Class (Sonar Technician)
US Navy SEALs TeamsSEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One (SDVT-1)
Service YearsDecember 2000 - 28 June 2005
Military Decorations• Navy Cross (Posthumous) (13 September 2006)
Matthew Axelson's Navy Cross citation
• Purple Heart (Posthumous)
• Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
• Combat Action Ribbon
• Navy Unit Commendation
• Navy Good Conduct Medal
• National Defense Service Medal
• Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ 1 Service star
• Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
• Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
• Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
• NATO Medal
• Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
• Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal
Honours & Legacy• On 11 November 2007, in Cupertino, California, a life-size bronze statue of Axelson was installed. The statue showed him in a 'defensive kneeling' posture, with his rifle placed on one knee. His Navy Cross citation was included in the statue's design.
Matthew Axelson's bronze statue erected after his death
• On 3 November 2015, the Pacific Beacon housing complex located at Naval Base San Diego was renamed The Axelson Building in which a display case was set up in the lobby to store a collection of Axelson's possessions.

• His name was engraved on the war memorial of San Diego State University on 13 November 2015. The university also acknowledged him as its alumnus.

• In October 2019, the representatives in the Senate presented a bill to change the name of the post office in Cupertino, California, to the “Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson Post Office Building.” The bill was cleared on 14 September 2020, paving the way for the renaming of the building.

• As a tribute, Axelson Tactical, led by Matthew's older sibling, introduced a special rifle in 2016 that resembled the one Matthew used in Operation Red Wings in 2005. Eventually, the company partnered with Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's Team Never Quit Ammunition for a charity initiative, offering the rifle along with a thousand rounds of ammunition to generate funds for the Special Operations Wounded Warriors organization.
Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell posing for a photo with the rifle manufactured in honour of Matthew by Axelson Tactical
• Following his death, his relatives founded the Matthew Axelson Foundation in California with the aim of aiding veterans of the US Armed Forces cope with distress and disability.
A logo of Matthew Axelson Foundation
• After he passed away, the US Navy donated Axelson's battle gears that he wore during Operation Red Wings to a museum in his hometown for the public to see.
Matthew's battle gear displayed in a museum
Personal Life
Date of Birth25 June 1976 (Friday)
BirthplaceCupertino, California, the United States of America
Date of Death28 June 2005
Place of DeathKunar Province, Afghanistan
Age (at the time of death)29 Years
Death CauseGun shot wounds [1]Veteran Tributes
Zodiac signCancer
HometownCupertino, California
SchoolMonta Vista High School, California
College/University• San Diego State University
• California State University Chico
Educational QualificationMajored in Political Science
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death)Married
Affairs/GirlfriendsCindy Oji Axelson (program director of the SEAL Family Foundation, president of the Matthew Axelson Foundation)
Matthew Axelson with Cindy
Marriage Date27 December 2003
Wife/SpouseCindy Oji Axelson (program director of the SEAL Family Foundation, president of the Matthew Axelson Foundation)
A photo of Matthew and Cindy taken during their wedding ceremony
ParentsFather- Cordell Axelson
Mother- Donna Axelson
A photo of Matthew Axelson's parents
SiblingsBrother- Jeffrey Axelson (also known as Jeff; founder of Axelson Tactical)
A photo of Jeff Axelson
Style Quotient
Car Collection1969 Chevrolet Corvette
A photo of Matthew Axelson taken with his 1969 Chevrolet Corvette

Matthew Axelson (right) with his team

Some Lesser Known Facts About Matthew Axelson

  • Matthew Axelson was a petty officer second class in the United States Navy SEALs. In 2005, he served in the SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One (SDVT-1), and his team played a crucial role in Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. He received the Navy Cross posthumously for his involvement in Operation Red Wings, the second-highest accolade in the U.S. Navy, along with the Purple Heart.
  • He hails from a Christian family in the US.

    A photo of Matthew taken during his childhood

    A photo of Matthew taken during his childhood

  • Matthew had a liking for soccer, and he began participating in his school’s swim team when he was five. He used to play golf during his high school years and competed for his school in various events.
  • Motivated by a friend who was a US Navy SEAL, Matthew chose to enlist in the United States Navy to become a SEAL.
  • In December 2000, Matthew reported at the boot camp of the US Navy at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center located in Chicago, Illinois.
  • He underwent training as a Sonar Technician – Surface at the STG “A” School in Chicago, Illinois, after completing the military training module at the boot camp.
  • Subsequently, he enrolled in Class 237 of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) program to become a US Navy SEAL.
  • After that, he went to the United States Army Airborne School, popularly known as Jump School, in Fort Moore, Georgia, where he received basic training to become a paratrooper (military parachutist).
  • Afterwards, he finished a 26-week program known as SEAL Qualification Training (SQT), and later, he participated in a training module focused on SEAL Delivery Vehicle.
  • After completing all the training programs mandatory to become a US Navy SEAL, he was awarded the Insignia for Naval Special Warfare, commonly referred to as the SEAL team trident badge.

    Matthew while training as a US Navy SEAL

    Matthew while training as a US Navy SEAL

  • Thereafter, he attended the SEAL Sniper school in Indiana to receive specialized training as a marksman.

    A photo of Matthew taken while he was posing with his sniper rifle

    A photo of Matthew taken while he was posing with his sniper rifle

  • In December 2002, Axelson was sent to Hawaii as a member of the SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 (SDVT-1).
  • In April 2005, Axelson was deployed to Afghanistan as a member of his SDVT-1. The team was tasked with supporting the NATO forces in their operations against the terrorists.

    Matthew Axelson (second from the left) with his teammates in Afghanistan

    Matthew Axelson (second from the left) with his teammates in Afghanistan

  • On 28 June 2005, a team of four SEAL operatives led by Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, accompanied by Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz, Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Axelson, and Petty Officer Second Class Marcus A. Luttrell, was sent to the Kunar Province’s mountainous region in Afghanistan. Their mission was to collect information and neutralize or apprehend a senior Taliban commander named Ahmad Shah, believed to be hiding in the Kunar Province. However, their mission was jeopardized when they were found by a local goat herders’ group.
    A photo of Ahmad Shah

    A photo of Ahmad Shah

    According to Marcus Alan Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, the team had to make a crucial decision regarding whether to kill the herders and proceed with their mission or let them go and abort. They chose the latter, releasing the herders. However, this led to an ambush by a large Taliban force shortly after, as the herders informed the Taliban about the SEALs’ presence as soon as they were set free. During the ensuing firefight, Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson were killed, while Marcus Luttrell survived but sustained severe injuries.

    Matthew Axelson's photo with his team that took part in Operation Red Wings

    Matthew Axelson’s photo with his team that took part in Operation Red Wings

    Luttrell’s claim about the herders informing the Taliban was disputed by Mohammad Gulab Khan, a resident of Salar Ban village in Kunar Province, who rescued the injured Luttrell from the Taliban. According to Gulab, the sound of the helicopter’s rotors, which dropped the four-man SEAL team in the mountains, alerted the enemy fighters in the area. Gulab, in an interview, talked about it and claimed,

    The militants, like many others in the area, heard the helicopter drop the Americans on the mountain, Gulab claims. The next morning, they began searching for the SEAL’s distinctive footprints. When the militants finally found them, the Americans were deliberating about what to do with the goat herders. The insurgents held back. After Marcus Luttrell and the company freed the locals, the gunmen waited for the right moment to strike.”

    A collage of the soldiers of the US Armed Forces that took part in Operation Red Wings

    A collage of the soldiers of the US Armed Forces that took part in Operation Red Wings

    Axelson received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart posthumously for taking part in Operation Red Wings.

  • Matthew Axelson died during Operation Red Wings in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 28 June 2005. As per reports, Axelson sustained severe injuries while participating in a battle against enemy combatants as part of Operation Red Wings. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and various other areas of his body. Unfortunately, his life was tragically ended when he was struck by a bullet in the head. A group of US Navy SEALs engaged in a combat, search, and rescue mission in the Kunar Province successfully retrieved Axelson’s body on 10 June 2005.
    A US Navy SEAL officer presenting a folded American flag to Cindy during Matthew's funeral

    A US Navy SEAL officer presenting a folded American flag to Cindy during Matthew’s funeral

    He was laid to rest with full military honours at Glen Oaks Memorial Park in Chico, California, on 28 June 2005. [2]Veteran Tributes

    A photo of Matthew Axelson's grave

    A photo of Matthew Axelson’s grave

  • He liked reading history.
  • In the 2013 Hollywood film Lone Survivor, the character of Matthew Axelson was essayed by actor Ben Foster.

    Ben Foster (second from right) with Mark Wahlberg in the film Lone Survivor (2013)

    Ben Foster (second from right) with Mark Wahlberg in the film Lone Survivor (2013)

  • Matthew’s father, in an interview, mentioned that, after coming back from his deployment in Afghanistan, Matthew intended to reconstruct his father’s original Triumph TR6 and even sent his father a building manual for the project.
  • In 2014, Jeffrey Axelson, Matt’s older sibling, released a book titled A Brother’s Search for an American Warrior, which centred around Matt’s life. A Brother’s Search for an American Warrior's cover page