Colonel Matthew Bogdanos is a native New Yorker, raised waiting tables in his family's Greek restaurant in Lower Manhattan. A middleweight boxer who joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 19, he left active duty in 1988 for the New York County District Attorney's Office. Remaining in the reserves, he led a counter-narcotics operation on the Mexican border and served in Desert Storm, South Korea, Lithuania, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kosovo.
Losing his apartment near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, he joined a counter-terrorism task force in Afghanistan, receiving a Bronze Star for actions against al-Qaeda. He then served in the Horn of Africa and three tours in Iraq—leading the international investigation into the looting of Iraq’s National Museum—before deploying again to Afghanistan in 2009. Exposing the link between antiquities trafficking and terrorist financing, and presenting those findings to the United Nations, Interpol, British Parliament, and the Peace Palace in The Hague, he received a National Humanities Medal from President Bush for helping recover 6000 of Iraq's treasures in eight countries.
He holds a classics degree from Bucknell University; a law degree, master’s degree in Classics, and Recognition of Achievement in International Law from Columbia University; and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. In addition to dozens of military decorations, he received the 2004 Public Service Award from the Hellenic Lawyers of America, 2007 Proclamation from the City of New York, 2009 Proclamation from the City of Philadelphia, 2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and was Grand Marshal of the 2010 Greek Independence Day Parade.
Returning to the DA’s Office in October 2010, he still boxes and continues the hunt for stolen antiquities, recently leading an investigation that recovered 100 ancient statues stolen from India. All royalties from his book, Thieves of Baghdad, are donated to the Iraq Museum.