Salem native awarded Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan

SALEM – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matte DeJane was recently awarded the Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012.

DeJane, 28, graduated from Salem High School in 2002 and served four tours, two each in Iraq and Afghanistan – three were 18-month tours while the other was a nine-month deployment.

The Bronze Star is the fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the U.S. military.

It may be awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

After being wounded in Iraq in 2004 DeJane was awarded the Purple Heart, also as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

She also wears the Iraq Campaign and Afghanistan Campaign medals.

She returned from her last deployment in January.

Her older brother, Ty, suffered a spinal wound when struck by a sniper’s bullet in December of 2006 in Iraq and was paralyzed. He continues to recover.

The two are the children of Twing and Charlene DeJane of Salem.

Matte DeJane is currently stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, home to the U.S. Army Chemical, Engineer and Military Police Regiments, Forces Command’s 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and other deployable units, where she is a truck driving instructor.

“She drives anything the army has,” he mother said, noting that when she was deployed in Afghanistan she was in charge of over 20 million of dollars of equipment and supplies.

She is an 11-year veteran and has made the army her career.