A year after Marine disappears on High Sierra hike, family still unsure what happened
Orange County Register
Erika I. Ritchie
PUBLISHED: February 24, 2020
...But a special kind of Marine needs no words, symbols or proclamations to describe their love for the Corps. Their love is found in late nights at the office, their stoicism in harsh conditions, genuine concern for subordinates and an obstinate adherence to what is right, regardless of the situation. These Marines live on through their influence and deeds, setting the example for the rest to come. Matt was one of these Marines.”
Marine Matthew Kraft is seen here hiking with his mother, Roxanne Kraft, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. (Courtesy of the Kraft family)
Every night, Greg Kraft turns on an electric candle that sits in the window of his family’s Connecticut home.
“I turn it on and I say, ‘God Bless Matt,’ ” Kraft said Friday, Feb. 21, his voice choked with emotion. “In the morning I turn it off and say ‘God Bless Matt.’ “
The candle, in the upstairs middle dormer of his Williamsburg Cape Cod-style home, is lighted so his son, Capt. Matthew Kraft, can find his way back.
Matthew Kraft, a platoon leader with the 1st Battalion/7th Marines at Twentynine Palms, part of the 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton, disappeared after taking leave from the Marine Corps for a two-week backcountry ski trip along the High Sierra Route starting Feb. 24, 2019.
He had planned the rugged trek for his pre-deployment leave, before his unit was to depart for Afghanistan.
That’s when I came to grips with it,” said Greg Kraft. “It’s also the day (March 15) the Marine Corps calls the date of death.”
An official statement, released by the Marine Corps on April 11, said Matthew Kraft died after being “overcome by severe winter storms.”
Kraft was posthumously promoted from 1st Lt. to the rank of Captain.
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