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Here's to Matt!

Updated: May 20, 2020

May is Military Appreciation Month. With this post we are beginning our Military Appreciation Campaign. Please share your stories and photos of your military service members that you appreciate. Post on our Facebook page. Tag us on Twitter or Instagram, or email us through our website and we will celebrate and share our #1350spirit for your loved ones with you online!


For 1350 Distilling, we celebrate our military and their loved ones every day. Throughout the quarantining for COVID-19, there has been one person that has helped us immensely with sales into liquor stores throughout Colorado Springs, Monument, Manitou Springs, and Cañon City. That is Gunnery Sergeant Matthew L. Freeman, (USMC, Ret.). Some know him as "Gunny" but at 1350 Distilling, we call him "Matt". Here is his biography and how he has served our great nation. Here's to Matt!


Matt Freeman was born in Boise, Idaho in 1977.

Matt joined the Marine Corps on 29 November, 1999 from Recruiting Station Boise Idaho. In February 2000 he graduated Recruit Training from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. He attended the Personnel and Administration Course at Camp Johnson, Jacksonville, North Carolina from April to May 2000.

In May 2000 Private First Class Freeman was assigned to Headquarters Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 and served as a personnel clerk. During his time there, he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and won the unit Marine of the Quarter board and went on to win the Marine Wing Support Group 27 Marine of the Quarter board, and then participated in the 2D Marine Aircraft Wing Marine of the Quarter board, taking second place. In June 2002 he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal in Zaragoza, Spain during exercise Dynamic Mix 2002.

In October 2002 Corporal Freeman requested orders to Okinawa, Japan and served under III Marine Headquarters Group (MHG) at Camp Hansen Consolidated Personnel Administration Center, as the III MHG Pay Chief. During this tour he also served as the III Marine Expeditionary Force Color Sergeant.

In December 2003 he executed a lateral occupational move to the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Planning Specialist field, MOS 0511. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in Jan 2004 and left Okinawa to attend the Basic Marine Air Ground Task Force Planners Course at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Atlantic Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia in May of 2004, graduating at the top of his class.

In June 2004, Sergeant Matt Freeman received orders to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron (MWHS)-3, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Miramar Air Station, San Diego California. Due to a leadership gap in the Plans Chief billet, he assumed responsibilities as the acting Plans Chief for three months until one was assigned and then assumed duties as the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Assistant Plans Chief.

In November 2004, he was given orders to assume duties as the MAGTF Plans Chief for Marine Air Control Group (MACG)-38. In March 2005 he was sent to Pocatello, Idaho on Humanitarian Temporary Additional Duty orders, due to a terminal illness of his father. In August 2005 he returned to MACG 38, but immediately transferred back to MWHS-3 to act as the MAGTF Plans Chief (Rear). In July 2006 he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as the 3D MAW MAGTF Plans Chief and Plans Officer (Forward) for the Air Combat Element (ACE), Multi-National Coalition Forces – West (MNF-West).

In June 2007, Matt reenlisted and was given orders to 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, Kaneohe Bay Hawaii, serving as the MAGTF Plans Chief, 3rd Marine Regiment. In January 2008, he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and immediately attended Career Course in San Diego, California. In October 2008, Staff Sergeant Freeman deployed as the MAGTF Plans Chief (Forward) for Special Purpose MAGTF-Afghanistan, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the efforts to build infrastructure, force laydown planning and deploy supplies for an upscaling larger force to deploy in May 2009, Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan (MEB-A). After MEB-A took command as the lead Headquarters Element, Staff Sergeant Freeman transitioned to be the Regimental Combat Team-3 (RCT-3) MAGTF Plans Chief, Camp Dwyer, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

In November 2009, Matt returned from Afghanistan with orders to report to Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) where he assumed duties as Assistant Plans Chief, MARFORPAC G-5 Contingency Plans under the senior enlisted of the MAGTF Planning Occupational Field. During this time, Matt met Dara Mukai at Hawai’i Kai Marina, formed a lasting relationship and decided to move in together in the town of Waipahu, Hawaii.

In November 2011, Matt received orders to attend Basic Recruiters Course (BRC) at MCRD San Diego where his career as a Marine began. During his time at BRC, his platoon received the most honors of their class and Matt graduated in the top 10% of his Recruiter Class. In March of 2012, Staff Sergeant Freeman received orders to report to Recruiting Station Seattle, Recruiting Sub Station (RSS) Spokane, Washington. In June, 2012, Matt was selected to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and transferred to Officer Selection Station, Spokane.

In December 2012, Gunnery Sergeant Freeman arrived at OSS Spokane with a recruiting responsibility covering all colleges in Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and the entire state of Montana, the largest officer recruiting area of operations in the continental United States. He inherited a mission failing station for the five prior years to his arrival. In March 2015, Matt received orders to United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), Colorado Springs, CO. One week before leaving Recruiting Duty, Matt assisted in and finalized the mission accomplishment of OSS Spokane for the first time in the seven years prior. During this time he assisted in contracting the most qualified officer applicants and in all categories of diversity, gender, air, law, and reserve contracts. Dara Mukai and Matt married in the Officer Selection Team Spokane office on December 1st, 2014.

Dara and Matt

In April of 2015, Gunnery Sergeant Freeman reported to United States Northern Command / North American Defense Command (NORAD) and performed duties as a Plans Action Officer for the Operations Directorate, J3. Matt Freeman was the lead Joint Operations Planning and Execution System Action Officer on Tier I Exercises and Operations to include Presidential Movement to Alaska (2015), Ardent Sentry 2016 (Cascadia Subduction Zone) (Cascadia Rising), Ardent Sentry 2017 (Improvised Nuclear Device New York City), response efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (2017), Customs and Border Patrol Operations (2018-2019). Also during his time at USNORTHCOM / NORAD, Gunnery Sergeant Freeman served as the Marine Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Command.

In December 2017, Gunnery Sergeant Matt Freeman submitted his request to retire at 20 years of service and was approved by Headquarters, Marine Corps. Matt officially retired November 30th, 2019 after 20 years and 5 days of active duty service.

On November 10th, 2019, after volunteering to help in a Marine Corps Birthday celebration at 1350 Distilling, Phillip Bragg asked Matt to be 1350 Distilling’s Outside Sales Representative and Matt immediately accepted. Currently Matt is still serving as the Outside Sales Representative for 1350 Distilling and resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife, Dara Freeman.

Gunnery Sergeant Matt Freeman’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with three Gold Stars in lieu of 4th Award.

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