Sergeant First Class Matthew Crain, United States Army

2021 U.S. Missile Defender of the Year

SFC Crain was most recently the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Intelligence Section (S-2) at the 38th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Brigade, at Sagamihara, Japan. SFC Crain is a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the highest order; his impeccable reliability, superior integrity, and selfless devotion to Air Defense and the Army profession is remarkable. SFC Crain’s leadership was extremely important to the 38th ADA Brigade during 2021. He was selected to act as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) First Sergeant during a crucial period of high operational tempo for the Brigade. Despite being one of the most junior Sergeants First Class at the Headquarters, he was chosen to lead and advise the battery through critical operations which included the first Patriot Live Fire in Australia during Talisman Sabre 21, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-level command post exercise Pacific Sentry 21, and the Brigade’s external evaluation during Combined Command Post Training 21-2. SFC Crain was exactly the right NCO for the job, as all missions were met with success and the Soldiers, NCOs, and Officers maintained operational readiness and high morale through a stressful period—all while still under COVID-19 pandemic conditions. SFC Crain was born in Fort Lewis, Washington on June 12, 1991. He graduated from Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, Arizona in 2009 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2010. He attended Basic Combat Training in Fort Benning, Georgia where he graduated as the Distinguished Honor Graduate and was promoted to the rank of Private E-2. He continued onto Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and earned the Military Occupational Specialty of Air Defense Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence Tactical Operations Center Enhanced Operator/Maintainer. His deployments include Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support. As an NCO, SFC Crain’s assignments include Team Leader (Bagram, Afghanistan), Team Leader (Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland), Squad Leader (Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland), Sentinel Section Sergeant (Fort Stewart, Georgia), Battle Systems Operator (Sagami Depot, Japan), and Battle Systems Manager (Sagami Depot, Japan). SFC Crain is currently enrolled at American Military University and is working on a Visual Communications Degree. He has earned the Parachutist Badge and the Drivers Badge. He is a member of the prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Association since 2020.

Defenders of the Year