Matt Pieper

Name: Matt Pieper
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Branch: Army
Years Served: 6
Rank: E-4
Military Occupation: Military Police
Twitter Handle: @peeps502

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • I currently reside in Columbus, Ohio having decided to stay after graduating from Ohio State.
  • When not working in tech, I am an avid street photographer and enjoy traveling worldwide with my spouse.
  • And of course I cannot forget to mention our pup Oscar who we couldn’t live without after fostering him for 6 months.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • I’m joining the IAVA Cavalry because our stories and experiences should be shared outside of pop culture. As someone who grew up around servicemembers and veterans I always knew these stories. Over the last few years, I’ve met amazing people who have never known a service member let alone combat veteran. Sharing these stories with those who shape policy is more important to me now than ever, in order to help break down these barriers.

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today? 

  • I honestly do not know who I would be without my military experience. It’s a cliché, but it was the military that turned a kid with no direction and gave him the tools to be successful in life. My first time on a plane was to basic and my first time out of the country was landing in Kuwait. It provided me the tools to be an effective leader in the private sector and the perspective to understand what’s important. Last, it stressed the importance of building strong connections around me.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why?

  • It’s difficult for me to choose one priority that I believe is the most pressing, because how could I rank anything higher than preventing suicide? But, when I look at the larger picture, I believe it’s the repeal or reformation of AUMF. The broad reach of this legislation keeps the door open for the mobilization of our forces, potentially leading to more combat deaths and resulting trauma post-deployment. While our nation should have the ability to forward deploy to defend its citizens, we owe it to every current, past, and future servicemember to have a healthy and public debate to decide if it’s the best course of action. We should have key success metrics and objectives for our combat operations.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why? 

  • I have the strongest personal connection to Alternative Therapies. It took me a long time to overcome the stigma around these therapies. When I finally took the leap a lot of healing began. Once I realized the benefit I began talking to others with my experience and understood that I was not alone. Peers of mine have leaned into Agri Therapy and Cannabis, and their lives have changed and impacted mine.  Especially, when I learn how these therapies have brought some of my closest friends from the brink of suicide. A lot of us look to the VA for guidance on our mental and physical health, and not having access to every avenue of care is detrimental.


Our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support vets. Make a donation today to help IAVA fulfill its mission to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.

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