Matthew Kantor was born on August 27, 1990, in New York City. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 18, 2008, and went on active duty to begin basic training on March 9, 2009. Kantor completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in May 2009, and then attended Pre-BUDS training at NTC Great Lakes from May to August 2009. He attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado from August 2009 to May 2010, and then SEAL Qualification training from May to September 2010. His first assignment was with SEAL Team FOUR at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from September 2010 until he was killed in action while deployed to Afghanistan on November 1, 2012. Matthew Kantor was buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as a SEAL Operator, for Special Operations Task Force-SOUTHEAST, in direct support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from September to November 2012. During this period, Petty Officer Kantor conducted 25 combat operations inside Taliban safe havens. On 1 November, Petty Officer Kantor was providing rear security as the heavy weapons gunner for a 31-man combat reconnaissance patrol. He was the first line defense protecting the most vulnerable position of his platoon against potentially devastating enemy attacks. While returning from the patrol, his element received effective enemy machinegun fire from 500 meters away. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, and being mortally wounded, Petty Officer Kantor advanced forward and returned suppressive fire. His selfless actions allowed enough time for his teammates to find cover and maneuver on the enemy's position. Petty Officer Kantor absolutely prevented additional loss of life and undoubtedly ensured the safe return of his teammates. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer Kantor reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.