Flag Flies for Matthew Dwyer

Flag Flies for Matthew Dwyer

In its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to Navy veteran Matthew Dwyer by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of January.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Dwyer for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

Mr. Dwyer was honored at a ceremony held Jan. 27 at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the event, middle school students sang, “Believe” by Shawn Mendes and high school VFW Patriot’s Pen essayists read their works and introduced Mr. Dwyer. Also, public officials, including Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming and Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad spoke in Mr. Dwyer’s honor. The ceremony concluded with the raising of the American flag.

Mr. Dwyer was born in the Bronx and has resided in Hampton Bays since 1982. He graduated from Fairfield University in 1964 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1967 and was admitted to the New York and Washington, D.C. Bar.

In 1967, Mr. Dwyer enlisted in the Navy Reserve at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx and went to boot camp at Great Lakes Training Center in Illinois. Following boot camp, Mr. Dwyer was sent to active duty at the Brooklyn Naval Yard for two months before receiving a ship assignment aboard the USS Mauna Loa, an ammunition ship that was ported in Naples, Italy, on the Mediterranean Sea.  

Mr. Dwyer flew to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England, and then on to Italy. Since Mr. Dwyer had a law degree, the captain of the ship assigned him to the ship's office. The captain then encouraged him to take the Navy-wide test for promotion to Petty Officer Third Class. Soon after, Mr. Dwyer passed the test and was promoted. Mr. Dwyer was responsible, for a time, for the painting and repairing parts of the ship to prepare for the chief of naval operations subsequent visit to the ship by landing on the ship's heliport. Mr. Dwyer also created a ship library and conducted a high school General Equivalency Diploma program onboard the ship.

While on the Mauna Loa, Mr. Dwyer sailed to Vietnam and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — the site of the United States prison on base. The captain reassigned him to Newport, Rhode Island, where his duties included coordination and training for the Navy’s Sixth Fleet on base. After completing his active duty obligation in December 1971, he continued service in the Navy Reserve by attending weekly meetings in the Bronx until his enlistment commitment ended in 1974. He did not reenlist because he was returning to a civilian job as an attorney with the U.S. Treasury Department.

In 1983, Mr. Dwyer opened his private practice law office in Hampton Bays and continues to maintain an active practice. He is also a member of the American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924 for over 35 years and was the post's judge advocate for 25 years. Mr. Dwyer has also been the president of the Irish-American Society of the Hamptons and the Hampton Bays Beautification Association; an officer of the Hampton Bays Lions Club; Trustee of the Hampton Bays American Legion; Treasurer of the St. Rosalie's Church Holy Name Society and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Mr. Dwyer has been married to his wife, Barbara, for 48 years and has two children, Brendan and Alana, and two grandchildren, Daniel and Matthew.