Died October 18, 2002
Lemoore Naval Air Station
Assigned to VFA-4, Strike Fighter, Squadron 41, Nas Lemoore, CA
During a routine training mission off the coast of Big Sur, LT Matthew Shubzda was killed when two F-18 Super Hornets from the “Black Aces” squadron collided mid-flight. Lt Matthew “Shooby” Shubzda and seven others were engaged in a combat training simulation prior to the fatal collision. Lt. Stephen R. Nevarez, 31 of New Orleans, Lt. Joel Korkowsi, 30, of Phoenix, and Lt. Stephen N. Benson, 26, of Virginia Beach were also lost during the accident.
Matt’s younger brother of two years, Tim, recalls visiting the Naval Museum in Pensacola with Matt when they were in elementary school. The young boys spotted a fighter jet suspended from the ceiling displaying the pilot’s name. Matt was captivated immediately, declaring that one day he would become a pilot and it would be his name on a jet.
Becoming a fighter pilot was Matt’s dream, and he was always willing to put in the work. Matt applied himself in school, and was a born leader, often leading his peers to success. He graduated sixth in his class from Naaman Forest High School with a 4.26 GPA, as the class president and captain of the football team as their star quarterback.
Upon graduation, he had his choice between appointments to West Point, the Air Force Academy or the Naval Academy; ultimately choosing to attend the Naval Academy where he had the opportunity to play football as a defensive back. He graduated from the Naval Academy in May of 1998 before living out his dream as a fighter jet pilot.
While Matt had an accomplished life following his dream, he is most remembered for the support he provided to those he loved. All that knew him knew how beloved his family was to him, and that he would make an effort to help whomever needed it.
“Matt would be best described as a person who had time for everyone. Others always came first in Matt’s life. He touched so many people in so many different ways. You couldn’t ask for a better son, brother, friend or teammate” his brother, Tim Shubzda, said. “Matt is dearly missed, but has left a lasting legacy.”
Lt Matthew Shubzda was 27 years old from Sachse, Texas.
Original portrait was presented January 27, 2017 to his parents and siblings during a special event presented by SWYPIT and the Texas Legends held in Frisco, Texas.
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