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Smither, James (Interviewer)

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Mapes-Pearson, Matthias

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Mathias Mapes-Pearson was born on July 16, 1995 in Burlington, Vermont, but grew up in Rockford, Michigan. He immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school. After basic, he went to Infantry School and then Basic Security Guard School. For his first deployment, he was flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, later serving in Spain and Ukraine. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2016. After two and a half months of guard duty, his platoon rotated to Guardian Angel duty in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the province, to advise the local police, maintain civil order, and work to push Taliban forces out of the area. He believed that the American military made significant strides to better and pacify the region, but that the long-term stability of the region depended upon the continued presence of American forces and discipline. Mapes-Pearson was in Afghanistan for six months before opting to help train the replacements for his platoon back in the United States for his last year of service. He left the service in September of 2018 and flew back to Michigan where he moved to Grand Rapids and began work for Loomis Armored transport services. He then attended GVSU, majoring in management information systems. Mapes-Pearson believed that his service gave him a sense of purpose in life and appreciation for his fortunate life in the US. It also helped him realize who his true, core group of friends was.

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Veterans History Project collection, (RHC-27)