Sergeant James Matthew Crider, of Fort Carson, CO, passed away on February 12, 2016 at his home in Fountain, CO, He was 24 years old. SGT. Crider was born on May 25, 1991 in San Antonio, TX. He was a member of JROTC at the Karen Wagner High School, where he graduated in 2009. He enlisted in the United States Army on 22 July 2009 as an 11B, Infantryman. After he attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, GA, he was stationed at Fort Richardson, AK where he served as a scout in the 1-40th Armor Reconnaissance Company. SGT Crider deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). SGT Crider was then reassigned to Fort Carson, CO where he was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment as an Infantryman. SGT Crider is a graduate of Combatives Level I and II, Airborne Course, Field Sanitation Course, and the Long Range Marksman Course. He completed the Basic Leaders Course in 2015. His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with two knots, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, the NATO Medal for ISAF service, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the parachutist Badge.
SGT Crider was a kind and protective soul who believed in justice and equality. He worked hard to excel in everything he did and always put others ahead of himself. He enjoyed playing video games, having cook-outs, and pushing his friends and family to be all that they could be. A memorial will take place on March 2, 2016 at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX. A BBQ potluck will be served at the Kirby VFW after the service; all are welcome to attend and share a memory or story of James.
Remembrances from his father: James Matthew Crider, “Matt” was born May 25, 1991 via “C-section”, one minute before his twin sister Adena. Which he always loved to hold over her head. He weighed 3 lbs 14 oz and was in Neonatal for a month until he weighed 5 lbs and could come home. As he began to get bigger he became confident and headstrong. Matt and his sister were constantly into something, we spent lots of time and money “baby proofing” the house. They constantly tore every last toy out of the toy box while playing, toys all thru the living room daily. Barney the Purple Dinosaur became a major part of their lives, their mom would sing the cleanup song with them and they would cleanup their mess, mostly.
As he became older he and his sisters began to bicker with each other and play less. He was becoming a “daddy’s boy” and wanted to be by my side everywhere I went. He struggled with school until his 2nd grade teacher recognized he had Dyslexia. He received additional instruction on how to deal with that and it never was an issue again.
Matt fell in love with videogames very early in life. His favorites in the beginning we’re Golden Eye and Mario Brothers. We lived in a rough part of town and I wanted to keep Matt and his sisters off the streets, so we turned to online gaming. We became part of a Clan, online gaming community, and played Renegade, CoD, and BF2. He was very good at gaming and loved it. Our online friends became extended family especially for Matt. Gaming kept my boy out of trouble and helped keep him in line at home. He was a major gamer till he passed. He will be missed by his family and his gaming community.
Matt began to struggle with applying himself at school until he joined ROTC. He turned his life around for that program. He loved being part of something bigger than himself and saw a future for himself in the military. Days after high school graduation he left for Basic Training and was not the same person afterwards. He became very serious and had a hard time smiling. I noticed it right away. I believe that was the beginning of the end at that point. I feel like PTS begins with what “They” do to you in basic training. War is not a pleasant thing, which means Training for war is not a pleasant thing either.
After returning from his first Deployment he was a very different man. Always on alert, always sizing situations and people up, always having a plan of escape or attack in a restaurant or wherever he was at the time. He shared with me some things that happened during deployment that haunted him. Two close friends were killed in action and on a separate occasion he was helpless to stop his squad from being attacked. They all survived but he felt like he let his guys down and it ate at him constantly, even when he got home. He had thoughts of suicide and visited with a chaplain and eventually a therapist. But because he shared this information with the military they put him under “investigation” and he was not being allowed to re-enlist.
He had a huge heart, loved his family and friends, and would go out of his way to help others that needed it. He was a human and made some mistakes, but I can say that I am Proud of the man that my son became. Material things don’t matter folks, he’s gone and his stuff is still here, the Memories you make with the ones you love or that love you, that’s your treasure and their treasure, that’s what matters!