Matthew Bourgeois was born on January 18, 1967, in Tallahassee, Florida. He enlisted in the Florida Army National Guard in 1984 and served until enlisting in the U.S. Navy on August 18, 1987. Bourgeois completed Navy basic training at NTC Orlando, Florida, in October 1987, and then completed Hospital Corpsman school at NTC San Diego, California, in January 1988. He next attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from January 1988 to October 1989, followed by Basic Parachutist training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in November and December 1989. His first assignment was with SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from December 1989 to January 1994, and during this time he deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. After additional training, Petty Officer Bourgeois served with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado from May 1995 to May 1999, and then with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck, Virginia, from May 1999 until he was killed in action after stepping on a land mine while deployed to Afghanistan on March 28, 2002.
His Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Citation reads
For meritorious service while serving as Training Department Leading Petty Officer at SEAL Team ONE from May 1995 to May 1999. Petty Officer Bourgeois demonstrated superb leadership, exceptional managerial skills and professionalism by planning, supervising and flawlessly instructing 108 weeks of high-risk training for nine platoons in Sea, Air, Land, and Assault training. Deploying with Golf Platoon, as the primary medical and supply department head, he performed brilliantly maintaining flawless accountability for 12,000 dollars worth of medical equipment, supplies and narcotics. Petty Officer Bourgeois' professionalism and devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
His 1st Navy Achievement Medal Citation reads:
For professional achievement while serving as medical department head, Echo Platoon, SEAL Team TWO while forward deployed to Joint Special Operations Task Force TWO, San Vito Dei Norman Air Station, Italy, from April 1993 to October 1993. Petty Officer Bourgeois performed his demanding duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. Displaying outstanding operational skill and initiative, he provided superior medical support during the arduous training required to keep the necessary combat skills honed for combat search and rescue operations in support of Operations Provide Promise and Deny Flight. As primary static line jump master, he displayed flawless skills during numerous Joint Air Force, Army, and Navy paradrops in preparation for Joint Force Contingency Operations. Petty Officer Bourgeois' excellent accomplishments were a direct result of his superb leadership, tireless efforts, and total devotion to duty. They reflected great credit upon himself, his command, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.