Maj. Matthew W. Krein received the LTC Ronald C. Ward Distinguished Special Operations Forces (SOF) Student Award for the Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) Class of 2019 in a ceremony June 12 at the Lewis and Clark Center.
The award is presented to the distinguished SOF student graduate of the resident CGSOC class. It is intended to honor military scholarship recognize excellence in scholarship as well as overall contributions to the SOF body of knowledge. The award is named after CGSC faculty member and Special Forces officer Lt. Col. Ronald C. Ward, who had a distinguished 31-year career in the U.S. Army in Infantry and Special Forces units. Ward was killed in a lightweight sport aircraft accident Oct. 8, 2010, during his assignment to the SOF cell of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth.
The award in Ward’s honor was created in 2014 and dedicated to his memory by his family as a means to recognize SOF students long into the future. On behalf of his family, Ms. Beth Ward, Lt. Col. Ward’s wife at the time of his death, endowed the award through the CGSC Foundation. The award is a replica of a Roman Gladius sword with the recipient’s name engraved. In addition, a plaque describing the award with a list of all past recipients is in the SOF directorate offices on the third floor of the Lewis and Clark Center.
Col. James M. Depolo, the director for Special Operations at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center/Fort Leavenworth, presented the award.
According to leadership of the SOF directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Krein’s selection for this award is more than fitting. He maintained a 4.16 grade point average during CGSOC, earning him a ranking in the top 15 students in the class. He was also ranked in the top 10 of the class for his performance on oral comprehensive exams. Additionally, he was a sponsor for one of the international officers in the class from the United Arab Emirates. During CGSOC Krein was simultaneously enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Kansas and maintained a 4.0 GPA while pursuing a master’s degree in Global and International Studies.
Originally from Clarendon Hills, Illinois, Krein attended DePauw University and was commissioned into the Medical Service Corps in 2008. He initially served in the 1st Medical Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009 as a company operations officer. He then served as the medical platoon leader and civil-military operations officer for 1-82 Field Artillery, where he deployed in 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn. Upon return, he was selected for civil affairs training and attended the Engineer Captains Career Course and Civil Affairs Qualification Course. He was then assigned to 91st Civil Affairs Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., from 2013-2016, where he deployed twice in support of Operation Juniper Shield, as the civil military support element team leader in Niger and as the regional civil military support element chief at Special Operations Command Forward – North and West Africa. From 2016-2017, Krein served as the aide-de-camp to the commanding general of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) and Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, with multiple trips throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Subsequently, he spent a year on the 1SFC(A) staff until assignment as a student at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth.
Krein’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Achievement Medal, and Parachutist Badge.
Krein graduated with his CGSOC class on June 14. He and his wife and their twin son and daughter are moving to Fort Bragg, N.C. where he will serve with the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne).