Portion Of Route 394 In Ellicott Named After Sgt. James Matteson, Killed In Iraq

ELLICOTT – A portion of the State Highway System is being renamed in honor of Sergeant James C. Matteson. The bill designates State Route 394 in the town of Ellicott as the “Sergeant James C. Matteson Memorial Highway”.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation Friday.
“Sergeant Matteson made the ultimate sacrifice fighting to protect this nation and its values,” Cuomo said. “I am proud to honor his heroism and bravery with this legislation, preserving his memory for generations to come.”
Sergeant Matteson, a Chautauqua County native  County, served in the United States Army’s 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Sergeant Matteson tragically lost his life in service to our country on November 12, 2004 during a ground assault in Falluja, Iraq.
Only 23, Matteson enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 1998.
As an Army scout, he was among the first U.S. soldiers leading the drive to capture Fallujah. Matteson was a 1998 graduate of Southwestern Central School, where he had been on the football team, wrestling squad and track team.
On the night of Nov. 11, 2004, three of Matteson’s fellow scouts, using the cover of darkness, assaulted a building held by insurgents. All three scouts were hit by enemy fire the moment they entered the building.
Matteson threw a smoke grenade to provide concealment as he helped evacuate the wounded scouts. He then engaged the enemy and provided covering fire, allowing members of his unit to launch a counterattack on the building. The attack collapsed the structure, killing all the insurgents inside.
Sergeant Matteson was killed the following morning in an ambush while leading a task force convoy.
At the start of the ambush, he left the safety of his vehicle to return enemy fire, giving other vehicles in the convoy time to take up better firing positions. For his heroic actions, he was awarded the Silver Star. A barracks at Fort Benning, Georgia, was also named in his honor.
Senator Catharine M. Young said, “Sergeant Matteson is a genuine American hero whose sacrifice for our nation inspires the deepest gratitude and respect. He lost his life serving our country, and dedicating this portion of State Route 394 in his honor is one way we can pay tribute to his selfless service. My thanks go to Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation which will ensure Sergeant Matteson’s bravery and valor will not be forgotten.”
Young went on to say ““Sergeant Matteson made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom. “It is appropriate that we rename this highway in his hometown in his name as a tribute to his courage and patriotism. His sacrifice is a reminder that freedom is not free. It is earned through the courageous sacrifice of heroic patriots like Sergeant Matteson.”
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell said, “Army Sergeant Matteson made the ultimate sacrifice to our Country when he lost his life in 2004 during a ground assault in Iraq. By unanimous vote, the Chautauqua County Legislature and County Executive George Borrello supported this legislation to honor this brave Chautauqua County native. Along with Senator Young, I am pleased to sponsor this bill, which is but one small way to honor and remember this American hero.”