Iowa soldier killed in Iraq - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI graduate killed in Iraq

A soldier who graduated from UNI was among three service members killed in an attack in Iraq.  27-year-old Capt. Matthew Nielson of Jefferson died in the attack.  He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.  

Also killed were 29-year-old Capt. David Van Camp, of Wheeling, W.Va., and 29-year-old Spc. Robert Tenney Jr., of Warner Robins, Ga. All were assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Hood, Texas. 

Military officials say the men died Wednesday when enemy forces attacked their unit with indirect fire.  Funeral arrangements for Nielson have not been set.

The leaders of his ROTC unit remember Nielson as a true soldier, and a born leader.

"Matthew, he knew what he was going to do in life. There were no half-measures with him. He knew he was going to be in the Army. He knew he was going to be an Army officer. And he worked every day to make sure he was going to be the best leader he could," said Lt. Col. Keith Lostroh.

Lostroh and Lt. Col. Chris Lukasiewicz (RET) watched Nielson grow, and learn, in his four years at UNI.

"After a couple years, I found out while he was living in the dorm he was living on an Army cot. Just because he wanted that feeling I guess. But that's the way he was. He lived and breathed the Army even when he was a college student," said Lukasiewicz.

The pair tell KWWL, Nielson stood out among his peers for his dedication and compassion for others.

"His concern for his soldiers was his absolute strength," said Lostroh.

"If there was one cadet I anticipated would go through the army ranks and eventually be a General someday, that cadet would be Matthew Nielson. So... it hurts... you know... right now," added Lukasiewicz.

Funeral services have not been set. 15 soldiers died in Iraq in June - making it the bloodiest month for American troops in two years there.

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