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A gut reaction: Air mobility Airman stops robbery in progress

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar—For members of the U.S. armed forces, the core values of each service function as a set of principles meant to guide their actions and behavior both on and off duty. 


Having embraced those same values for much of his life, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lothrop, an air transportation standardization and evaluations program lead evaluator with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, recently made local headlines after stopping a robbery in progress.


Lothrop explained that he was visiting friends in Dover, Delaware, while on leave when they decided to go out downtown for the night. He was standing outside of a bar when he witnessed three women walking down the street, and one of those women being robbed of her purse.


“When I heard the woman scream and saw the thief running away, I made the decision to chase after the robber,” said Lothrop. “I caught up to the man, tackled him and grabbed the purse.”


After tackling the man, Lothrop said the thief jumped up and ran away. The thief was arrested shortly afterward by officers with the Dover Police Department.  


“I will admit, in hindsight it was not the best decision considering I had no idea if the man was armed, and I could have been seriously injured,” said Lothrop.


He added that it was just a gut reaction to start chasing down the thief, and that it just felt like the right thing to do.


“I can say with confidence that his actions while on leave mirror his performance and attitude while executing the mission,” said Master Sgt. Jereck Duplessis, superintendent of plans and programs with the 8th EAMS and Lothrop’s current supervisor.


Lothrop was taught from a young age the importance of embracing core values throughout his personal life and career in the Air Force.


Lothrop is a “military brat,” raised by his father a retired Army master sergeant, and his mother, a retired Navy senior chief petty officer. Lothrop was born at Tripler Military Hospital in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and moved from one military base to another the rest of his young adult life, until moving out on his own for college and enlisting shortly after.


Growing up as he did, Lothrop was regularly reminded of the values of the various branches of service; the Army’s  loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage; the Navy’s  honor, courage, and commitment; and now the Air Force’s  integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.


Now as an evaluator at Al Udeid AB, Lothrop is tasked with understanding the regulations that govern his career field and in turn applying that knowledge in evaluating the performance of team members. Because coworkers can also be friends, he is depended on to carry out his evaluations with integrity.


“Integrity first in my career field means refusing to cut corners, and ensuring that cargo and personnel make it downrange quickly and safely, or back home,” said Lothrop. “My job specifically means using integrity to perform my evaluations of personnel fairly and without bias.”


Duplessis added that Lothrop has showcased continuing dedication and tenacity in getting the job done, and his focus on doing the right thing is critical to mission success.


From growing up in a dual-military parent household, to swearing to defend the constitution and serve others, Lothrop’s knows his faithfulness to the values in his life will continue to drive his progress throughout his career in the Air Force.