“I’ve never been happier:” Sturtevant native says he’s finally found peace — fighting ISIS in Syria

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SYRIA (WITI) -- Just a few months ago, Jordan Matson was working an overnight job packing food in Kenosha. Today, the Sturtevant native is in Syria -- on the front lines fighting ISIS. Matson tells FOX6 News after years of depression, he is finally at peace.

It is one of the most dangerous parts of the world. A civil war is turning Syria into a battlefield, and ISIS has become the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world.

ISIS started as an al Qaeda splinter group. The aim of ISIS is to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and in Syria.

ISIS is known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts. It has taken over large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

The group currently controls hundreds of square miles. It ignores international borders and has a presence from Syria's Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad. It rules by Sharia law.

ISIS's initial strategy for revenue was through extortion and robbery. Recently, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's strategy shifted to generating resources through large-scale attacks aimed at capturing and holding territory.

On the front lines in the fight against ISIS is 27-year-old Jordan Matson from Sturtevant.

"I asked 'God, is this really where you want me to go?'" Matson said.

Matson spoke with FOX6 News via Skype -- from a computer in Syria, near the Iraq border.

"Our government kept saying it was an Iraqi problem for over a year when this was occurring, and this was spreading, and I just had enough of it.  I decided If my government wasn`t going to do anything, I was," Matson said.

Matson says once he watched the city of Mosul fall to terrorists, he couldn't take it any longer. Using Facebook, he found a Kurdish militia looking for a few good men to fight against ISIS. Matson, a former Army soldier quit his third shift job at a Kenosha food packing plant, bought a plane ticket and packed light.

"I brought my boots and a few pairs of clothes and five sticks of deodorant, and a toothbrush, and some toothpaste.  That`s what I brought with me," Matson said.

Pictures Matson shared on Facebook show injuries suffered from an incoming mortar on just his second day in Syria.

"I took injuries to my forearm, my right arm and my left foot -- and some small debris in my eye, but it`s been taken care of," Matson said.

There's more to why the Racine County native is fighting a world away.

Jordan Matson's life hit a crossroads at home, where things were far from perfect. After graduating from Case High School in 2005, Matson followed a lifelong dream of following in his father's footsteps -- and entering the military. But after just a year in the Army, Matson says he was forced to leave in 2007 due to emotional stress.

"I`d been trying to get back in the military for a long time, and fighting to do so -- and I had been denied re-entry, and because I had a failed marriage before.  I couldn`t go back in because they said I had PTSD, but that barred me from re-enlistment. And that was a real tough seven years almost," Matson said.

Two years ago, Matson says he thought about committing suicide. He says a traffic stop by Racine police on the night he planned to do it may have saved his life.

"I had some dark days around November of 2012, I believe it was, and after that I had to find something to do with my life, and after Mosul fell I just felt compelled to do this," Matson said.

Matson has now found new purpose -- protecting people he just met, while helping others anxious to join the fight.

"We have men from Europe and Eastern Europe.  We got guys from Australia, parts of Africa.  It`s all over the place," Matson said.

Matson's journey to Syria is met with mixed emotions from those who love him most. Matson left a note for his mother and texted his father after he was already en route to Syria.

"They had a hard time coming to it the first few days, but when they realized this is what I wanted, and this is what I was at peace with, they came to terms with it, and they gave me their support," Matson said.

A family member tells FOX6 News they fear for Matson's safety -- believing he is undersupplied -- and possibly in over his head.

"I'm going to stay until ISIS' ability has been crippled and these people are safe.  I`ve already told them, I`m not going to leave at all," Matson said.

Matson says his childhood dream of becoming a soldier is now a reality, in a way no one could have expected.

"I`m thankful for your continued support, and I`m well. I`m good to go.  I`ve never been happier. I`ve had such great peace at my heart doing this," Matson said.

Matson often goes weeks without access to the internet. If he does return to the United States, it's unclear how he would be received by the United States government. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice says laws are complicated, and couldn't say whether Matson's actions are legal.

CLICK HERE to access Jordan Matson's Facebook page for updates.

4 comments

    • rosa19

      He reinforces my theory that much of PTSD is really anger at the fact that soldiers were not given a green light to kill even more people then they did ,in Iraq and or Afghanistan. They were fed visions of turning the place into a parking lot if they would join the military after 9/11 and when there they “had their hands tied” as they often complain .They feel betrayed that they have to follow rules of engagement like Geneva conventions and rules of war! Now he has joined a militia where he can go do what he’s been longing to do all along; kill as many Arabs as he can! So surprise ,surprise; he’s no longer “depressed” but lo and behold, he’s now “happy”!

  • Sheesh

    Sounds like he’s a loose cannon going over there with his guns half-cocked. Hope he’s prepared. Don’t want to read of him being the next one getting beheaded. Yikes.

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