Matthew V. Carrasco attended St. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Youngstown, Ohio, where he played football and ran track.
At 17, Matthew joined the United States Marine Corps. In those days, he was too young to serve without his parents’ permission.
Carrasco attended boot camp at Paris Island, S.C., and later infantry training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He spent three tours in Vietnam, each tour was 13 months. In 1967, he was honorably discharged.
Following his service, Carrasco spent time playing semi-pro football, bull riding and bronco riding on the rodeo circuit — a natural career advancement for someone who spent three years fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.
In addition to football and the rodeo, Carrasco achieved a life-long dream when he became a riding instructor, teaching children to ride horses, taking them to competition shows and volunteered as a mounted patrol.
It was while a riding instructor that he met his wife, Sue. They had a true western-style wedding, where men and women wore hats and spurs, and laughed as they did a grand finale line dance to “Boot Scooting Boogie.”
The couple have no children, but they are parents to several horses, Rae-Rae, a Doberman and a Shelty named Twiggy.
Carrasco’s hobbies are fishing and archery (instructor) and enjoys acrylic painting. He was recently awarded first place by the VA Medical Center for a painting titled, “Portrait of Vietnam.” His paintings are also displayed at the Belen Art Gallery.
Carrasco and his wife have lived in Valencia County for 20 years, until he retired from Sandia Casino.
Carrasco was born in New Orleans, La., and lived there with his three brothers and two sisters. All three brothers served their country in the military.
(Editor’s Note: Each month the Belen Veteran’s Memorial committee will select one veteran from Valencia County to be honored.)
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