by nathan oster
A 2002 Greybull High School graduate recently got the royal treatment at a baseball game in Denver between the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants.
Derek Mattis, who entered the service right after high school, was introduced to fans, along with other members of the 10th Special Forces Group Airborne, 3rd Battalion Military Intelligence Department.
Derek has climbed to the rank of staff sergeant and is based in Colorado Springs, where he and his wife of 10 years, Amanda, are raising their four children, ages 8, 5, 4 and 11 months. Derek works as an all-force intelligence analyst, saying he takes information, analyzes it and helps shape the battlefield for commanders in the field.
He has been in the service for 14 years and doesn’t plan to leave.
“I’m referred to as indefinite, meaning I’ll go until retirement,” he said. “This is what I have always wanted to do. Growing up as a kid, I was always playing ‘Army’ … but I wanted to actually do it and pursue it as a career.”
Derek has traveled the world, serving two tours in Iraq (the first was in 2006, the second in 2009-10), and lived in Missouri, Arizona, Texas, Washington state and Georgia before settling down in Colorado Springs.
A longtime Rockies fan, his visit to Coor’s Field was lined up by the parents of his commander. He and the other members of his group were given all-access passes. They were on the field for batting practice, the national anthem and the ceremonial first pitch before being escorted to their seats. They were in a suite, with unlimited amounts of food and drink, complements of the Rockies.
Derek said he got to meet Eddie Butler, a young pitcher on this year’s team who welcomed him to Coors Field and thanked him for his service to the country. “He was awesome; the whole experience was,” he said. “I just hit 14 years of service and that wasn’t the first opportunity I’ve had to do stuff like that. It was just the first opportunity I’ve actually taken.
“It was Coors Field and I’ve always liked the Rockies, so I decided I’d go for it. Plus I was able to get my wife a ticket, so it was like a date night.”
Derek is the son of Scott and Virgie Mattis of Greybull and grandson of Dave and Kay Mattis of Greybull, and Connie and the late Santiago Coronado of Manderson.