After Nathan Matos died in a car accident last month, he left behind a legacy of loyalty and dedication. His Corps buddies will always remember him as a cadet who perfectly embodied the core values of Texas A&M.
Originally a member of Squadron 4, Matos left his outfit his junior year to be on Corps Staff because he could no longer pursue an Air Force contract due to an allergy. Matos became a logistics officer.
Matos’ impact on the Corps became apparent as he lay at Hillier funeral home. Since his family is from New Jersey and couldn’t come to College Station right away, cadets from across the Quad volunteered to stand watch at Matos’ casket.
John Paul Chipley, Class of 2018 and former member of Squadron 4, said cadets were committed to being with Matos from the moment he died.
“From the time he got back in Bryan to the time he left for New Jersey Sunday morning, there was someone with him at all times,” Chipley said. “A cadet was either in the building or next to his casket that entire time.”
The cadets who took time out of studying for finals to stand watch chose to remove their name tags and forego recognition. The cadets who organized the round-the-clock watch sent out a sign-up sheet with two slots for every shift, but some shifts had up to six cadets at once because of the large turn out.
“It was 100 percent cadet thought of, cadet driven, cadet organized,” said 2018-2019 Corps commander and former member of Squadron 4 Adam Buckley. “I think that meant a lot, because it was his peers; people who worked with him, people who didn’t even know him.”
Buckley said Matos was a personable guy who always brought people together, even in his passing.
“One thing I’ve noticed in the days and weeks since he passed away is that all of his friends have now become even closer with each other, and I think that that’s all he could’ve ever asked for,” Buckley said. “All he ever wanted was for people to get along and to make relationships with each other.”
Chipley said he admired Matos’ dedication to the Corps, especially in the face of adversity.
“Instead of choosing to stay in the outfit and not do anything, he chose to go to Corps Staff because he wanted to make a real impact on things and help people out,” Chipley said.
Chipley remembers when a group of their friends were driving back from Colorado and Matos wouldn’t let Chipley drive. He insisted that Chipley sleep on the way back. Chipley said this is just one example of how Matos was “selfless to the point where it was silly.”
“He was just a goofy kid,” Chipley said. “He never tied his shoes, his bathrobe was torn and splotched with dried shampoo; he was just goofy. But also the kindest person you’ve ever met.”
Buckley was the one who encouraged Matos to join Corps Staff. Buckley remembers a time their sophomore year when their buddy class — the group they entered the Corps with as freshmen — went on a camping trip. They were all cooking dinner and had different dishes to prepare.
“Nate was more dedicated to cooking these potatoes than I’ve ever seen anyone dedicated to anything in their entire life,” Buckley said. “He built a tool for them out of some sticks. He spent like an hour and a half just working on these potatoes, and they turned out pretty good. From then on he got a new nickname; we called him potato. But that was just him; everything he did, he did it 100 percent.”