Matthew “Matt” R. Crouch is a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He was previously the 2020-21 senior US Marine Corps fellow at the Scowcroft Center.
Crouch was born in Santa Barbara, CA and grew up in Reno, NV. Matt attended high school in Sparks, NV, ultimately accepting an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1996.
Midshipman Crouch accepted his commission in May of 2000 upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy with a BS in Political Science. Following commissioning, 2ndLt Crouch was assigned duty at Headquarters Marine Corps in conjunction with the Voluntary Graduate Education Program, during which time he attended the University of Maryland, attaining an MA in American Government and Politics. Upon completion of the Voluntary Graduate Education Program in December 2001 2ndLt Crouch reported to the Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.
In July of 2001, 2ndLt Crouch graduated from the Basic School and transferred for duty as a flight student, reporting to Naval Air Station Pensacola. From July of 2001 until April of 2003 he trained as a student Naval Aviator attending primary (VT-2), intermediate (VT-2), and advanced training (HT-18) at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. 1stLt Crouch was awarded his wings and reported for duty with HMM(T)-164 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton in April of 2003 for training as a CH-46E pilot.
Following successful completion of replacement aircrew training, 1stLt Crouch remained aboard MCAS Camp Pendleton, transferring to HMM-268, where he served as the S-5 officer. The Squadron deployed to Al Taqqadum, Iraq in September of 2004. During two subsequent deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) with HMM-268, Captain Crouch served first as future operations officer and later as the squadron weapons and tactics instructor and pilot training officer.
In May of 2008 Captain Crouch was reassigned duties as an Olmsted Scholar in Shanghai, China and reported as a student to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey where he studied Mandarin Chinese. In January of 2009 he transferred to the American Consulate General, Shanghai and commenced studies at Fudan University. In September of 2009 Captain Crouch began studies as a student in the Hong Kong University-Fudan University International Management, Business Administration Programme. Following completion of the HKU-Fudan IMBA Programme in June of 2011, Major Crouch was transferred to MAG-39 for immediate assignment as an individual augment to I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) (Fwd) where he assumed his duties as the I MEF (Fwd) staff secretary.
Following return from Afghanistan in 2013, Major Crouch reported to HMMT-164 for duty as a fleet replacement squadron instructor and served as the S-3A until selection for transition as a MV-22B pilot. He detached from HMMT-164 and reported to VMMT-204 in October of 2013.
Following re-designation as an Osprey pilot in March of 2014, Major Crouch assumed duties as the executive officer of VMM-264. He served in this capacity through one deployment to Spain in support of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response, Africa (SPMAGTF-CR(AF)). Upon return from Spain Major Crouch continued to serve as Executive Officer including throughout the 22d MEU pre-deployment training program until accepting orders to Marine Forces Command in the summer of 2016. In 2017 Lieutenant Colonel Crouch reported for duty as commanding officer, Marine Aircraft Group 49 (MAG-49), Detachment D at Chambers Field in Norfolk, VA. He relinquished command of the Detachment in April of 2019 and was transferred to Korea. He served as the G-3/director of operations for US Marine Corps Forces Korea until June 2020 when he was selected as a Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow.
Lieutenant Colonel Crouch’s personal decorations and awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars in-lieu of third award, the Air Medal with numeral eighteen, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in-lieu of a second award, and the Navy Achievement Medal with gold star in-lieu of second award.
Lieutenant Colonel Crouch is married to Jenny Marie Crouch née Charlton. Together they have five children: Russell (eighteen), Philip (seventeen), David (fifteen), Carrie (fourteen), and Evelyn (thirteen).