Obama highlights sacrifice, heroism of Marine couple at Camp Pendleton


Capt. Matthew Lampert and his wife, Capt. Camille Lampert, shake hands with President Obama on Wednesday after he spoke about their service during his speech at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Capt. Matthew Lampert lost both legs in Afghanistan, then recovered to deploy there again. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Midway through his speech Wednesday at Camp Pendleton, Calif., President Obama shifted from talking about military policy to highlight the sacrifice of a Marine wounded warrior and his wife, both of whom continue to serve in the Marine Corps.

Capts. Matthew and Camille Lampert, were asked to stand after Obama briefly described their last few years. Lampert was a special operator in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device took both of his legs, Obama said. He survived that 2010 attack, and set out on a grueling recovery so he could get back to his team.

“So Matt endured excruciating rehab, therapy that could last all day, month after month, rebuilding his strength,” Obama said. “Recovery was slow: taking his first shaky steps on short prosthetics; then a new pair of knees; then full legs, taking him back to normal height. Stepping forward with two canes, then just one, then none. Learning to walk again. Learning to run — in his uniform, then his body armor. And then, just 18 months after he was injured and lost both legs, Matt — a double amputee — returned to his unit and redeployed to Afghanistan.”

Lampert and his company are now preparing for their next deployment, to the Pacific, Obama said. His wife, meanwhile, is working to become a test pilot “because, Matt says, she likes to ‘fly aggressively,'” Obama said.

“There are stories like Matt and Camille’s throughout our Marine Corps,” the president said. “They represent what’s best in our Marine Corps. ‘Semper Fidelis.’ That’s the ethic of your lives: Always faithful. Always faithful to each other — the few and the proud. Always faithful to your Corps — for 237 years. Always faithful to your country, for whom you wear the Eagle, the Globe and the Anchor. After all you’ve given to our nation, you have to know your nation will always be faithful to you.”

As I touched on yesterday here on Battle Rattle, Lampert’s story was featured in this video, produced for the MARSOC Foundation. He is still with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command:


Lampert says in the video that the night he was wounded, he and several of his Marines moved across a bridge in Afghanistan with a couple of Afghan commandos. They entered a compound they were examining through a courtyard wall.

“I got inside the courtyard and took about a half-step to my left,” Lampert said. “There was a loud, surprising explosion, a flash… my ears were ringing. I was up in the air for a little bit, and then thrown on the ground real hard. I was pretty surprised at that point.”

Lampert credits now-retired Maj. Gen. Paul Lefebvre, the commanding general of MARSOC at the time of his injuries, with asking him to become a company executive officer and return to Afghanistan.

“I told him yes,” Lampert said. “I desperately wanted to return to my guys.”


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. R. P. McDavid IV on

    Captain, You make me even more proud that I served as a combat Platoon Sgt Marine in Vietnam 1967 & 1968. All the best to you and your wife, Sir Semper Fi, brother!

  2. Jamie Northam on

    There is no way I would have shaken Obama’s hand. This man is a pretender and any kindness he shows to individuals in the military is overshadowed by his hatred of America and his systematic dismantling of our armed forces.

  3. Jamie Northam on

    BTW, I too am a combat veteran Marine Infantry NCO. To all of those who will eventually get on here and say “Whatever, of course you would!” You really don’t know me. I would be respectful of his office but say “No I will not shake your hand sir.” And there is nothing in the UCMJ that requires me to. It is time we really and honestly let this man know that we do no respect HIM. He needs to go before all is lost.

  4. Capts Lambert, congratulations! It was an honor to meet you at the USMC Ball and I’m amazed at your accomplishments. I help support the Ride430 raising funds for MARSOC. The fact that the President shook your hands shows his respect for you and what you both have done, and sacrificed, for your country and fellow Marines. As a 6 year USMC combat veteran, First Force Recon Company, Vietnam era, when I was a Marine my boss was the Commander in Chief, President of the United States. As such, he would get the utmost respect and support from me and my fellow Force Recon Marines. Sgt USMC 1960-66.

  5. I was very glad President Obama honored and introduced you to many that don’t know your struggle. God Bless you. I only pray if my son sustains that type of injury he can be as driven and focused.

  6. This was my Co in LAR. I have to say this man was a great marine as u can see. Thank u Captian Lampert for every thing u did for Company A.

    Semper Fi Brother

    Cpl McCraw

  7. Capt. Lampert, Thank You for your most dedicated service! You are a true American Hero!!!

    The guy shaking your wifes hand…a true american phony:(

  8. THAT is heroism, deserving of the oft-overused word. Inspiring story.

    For those here focusing on things other than the two captains, feel free to reassess the real point of this story, and avoid being selfish by opining in a more appropriate forum.

  9. So many amazing things we could say about this couple and their sacrifice and yet so many decide to use this as a platform for politics. No one wants to hear your crap, particularly the one comment that was racist. Inappropriate and sad on a story that was so uplifting.

  10. A short story; Capt. Lampert was Regimental Commander when I was a new cadet at Culver. The first time I had guard duty I had to stay in the guard shack through the breakfast hour. I was not expecting to eat until lunch. I was surprised when the regimental commander brought me breakfast with extra bacon. He had to carry the tray carefully across campus lest he spill all my little glasses of milk. -A deed that was in startling contrast to his high-speed attitude and rank. It was a lesson in servant-leadership that made a deep impression on young mind. Now that I hear he lost both his legs and is going back to war I’m not at all surprised.

  11. Man, if a junior Marine had been seen like that with that hair taking a pic, all hell would’ve broken loose. But Semper Fi, Sir

  12. Pingback: Obama highlights Pendleton couple’s sacrifice, heroism — OFFduty+

  13. That Marines is what we should have all striven to become, Capt Lampert should be used as an example in Boot Camp as in what it takes and what sacrifice truly is to become a U.S Marine..


    As with all things we have two sides “as it should be”..

    Even in our Marine Corps we have those who wear and have worn the eagle, globe and anchor..and still don’t know what Semper Fidelis Means and should be called exactly what they are Paper Marines…based on some of the comments on here it is true ..sadly….

    Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters.

  14. Awesome man. Your perseverance makes me proud to be an American. Thank you for your uncompromising dedication to you fellow men and country. God Bless You! Be Safe!

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