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LTC Matthew R. Myer ’01

2018 Nininger Award Recipient Story

The West Point Association of Graduates presented the 13th Annual Nininger Award for Valor at Arms to Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Myer ’01 at a dinner ceremony in the Mess Hall on September 27, 2018. As a captain, Myer commanded Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne) 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade during the July 13, 2008 Battle of Wanat, one of the bloodiest Taliban attacks in the now 17-year U.S. War in Afghanistan. Chosen Company, led by Myer, exacted at least 50 enemy KIA during the more than four-hour battle against a numerically superior force, and, according to the narration accompanying the Silver Star he received for this battle, “Captain Myer’s fearless leadership and steady hand ensured that when the smoked cleared and fighting ended, the Chosen Few owned the ground that the enemy sought to take.” 

“Lieutenant Colonel Myer is an incredible leader who is the epitome of the Army’s warrior ethos, and who truly embodies the West Point values of Duty, Honor, Country,” said Lieutenant General Darryl Williams ’83, Superintendent, in his opening remarks at the Nininger Ceremony.

In his address to the Corps, Myer challenged cadets to learn the deeper meaning of West Point’s motto and earn the moment that meaning becomes realized in the faces of their soldiers, when they choose the likelihood of death or injury over safety and security. “Never rest, never waiver, never say ‘good enough,’” Myer told the cadets. “Work hard every day to be the leader that earns the honor of seeing in the eyes of a soldier a willingness to follow you into the worst situations, so you see the determination of Duty in their eyes, their example of Honor toward their fellow man, and their love of Country and everything it stands for.”

“His words were very moving and inspiring, and I think he is the kind of officer all cadets aspire to be,” said Cadet Kyle Murdy ’19, Regimental Command Sergeant Major for 2nd Regiment. “He was put in a situation that none of us wish to be in, but West Point and the Army and the nation expect us to act as he did, and he is an amazing example.”

Myer brought up an amazing example of his own during his speech, 1LT Matt Ferrara ’05, who was killed in action on November 9, 2007 during an ambush in Afghanistan, but not before he was able to direct air support against the enemy, preserving the life of every soldier in his platoon. “Had he survived, he would be the recipient of the Nininger Award,” said Myer in his speech. Ferrara’s parents, Mario and Linda Ferrara, and his brother, Captain Andy Ferrara ’10, were present at the Nininger Award ceremony, and the Corps gave them a rousing round of applause when Myer acknowledged 1LT Ferrara’s noble act during his remarks.

Myer is currently the commander of the 1st Battalion-501st Infantry (Airborne) Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, the only airborne brigade combat team in the Pacific Theater.