Baltimore Journalist Matthew VanDyke Returns Home From Libya

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Matthew VanDyke spent more than five months in a Libyan prison. Then, he joined rebel forces to help overthrow dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He’s now back home in Maryland.

Weijia Jiang was there when he stepped off the plane Saturday evening.

Matthew VanDyke is in great spirits, although he admitted he thought at one point that this day would never come.

Matthew VanDyke is home.

“I’m glad to be home,” VanDyke said. “I wasn’t going to leave until Gadhafi was out of power. He’s gone, so I’m home.”

The 32-year-old Baltimore journalist turned Libyan warrior arrived at BWI Thurgood Marshall Saturday night, just after 9 p.m., holding the flag of the country he fought to free.

“Looks just like himself, I think he looks great,” Matthew VanDyke’s mother Sharon VanDyke said. “Eyes are as blue as blue. He’s obviously gained some weight back. I’m so happy for him.”

The journey to Maryland took nearly 40 hours. VanDyke wore the same clothes as he did when he battled alongside rebels on the frontlines.

“They gave me a jeep, a military jeep,” Matthew VanDyke said. “We put a Russian machine gun on it. I was the gunner.”

VanDyke revealed he went to Libya as a freedom fighter, but lied to loved ones about it.

“I went over there to support the revolution,” he said. “My family did not know that when I left. You don’t tell your mother that you’re going to go fight in war.”

Shortly after getting there in March, he was trapped in a Tripoli prison in solitary confinement for six months. VanDyke shared how he maintained sanity before he escaped.

“I sang Guns N’ Roses songs to myself,” he said. “I tried to name all the Star Trek characters that I know.”

But the tone turned serious when VanDyke admitted he feared he would die behind bars. His family– all holding American flags in greeting– couldn’t be happier to see his face.

“Tomorrow I’m going to go to church to thank God for protecting me during combat and while in prison, spend time with my mother and Lauren, and think about what the next step is,” he said.

Matthew VanDyke said he plans to start training for the next Middle Eastern revolution. He said he would never forget the look on Libyans’ faces as they tasted freedom for the first time. He also plans on writing a book about his time in Libya.

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    f……..K HIM, THE DOPE!

  • colliemom

    Sounds like he’s got some “issues”, maybe bipolar in a manic phase. He’s 32 and no job, thinks the public is going to admire his behavior and pay $$ to read about him; seems like yet another adventure in bad judgement. The public (us) already paid substantial money to find him and get him out if the Libyan jail….then he refused to return to the US. Is his mommy paying his airfare home? Feel sorry for the family, he didn’t seem to have much conern for them in all of this.

  • Little Phil

    this guy and his mother are a couple of goof balls!! But they must have alot of money because the media is up their butts!!! I could care less about this guy, let him join the US military if he wants to impress me!!

    • Marty

      The guy’s a jerk!!! I’m so tired of hearing about him. He’s nothing more than a glory hound. The media has made him a hero and for what? Being foolish enough to run to Libia to write a book? Now that he’s home, I hope he goes a away, I’m sick of hearing about this idiot!!!!!


    Where is your comment/insult SHERIFF?

    • FYI

      sheriff did comment, as bernard…they are he same person.

      • sheriff

        FYI, Get bent & use a proper screen name. You sound like a child.

  • cpzoom

    This man has some “issues”. Looking to train for his next middle Eastern conflict? He was freed from prison and stayed, that was when I realized he is looking for attention. Matthew, there are alot of freedom issues right here in our country that you could be helping to improve, if that is really your desire in life.

    • Question?

      is he unable to join the military? just curious.

  • MyOpinion

    While I’m certainly glad he’s home safely, I feel he mislead his family, our government and people in general about his mission in Libya. His Mother had our government and politicians fighting for his release on the premise that he was “just a journalist” being held unfairly. That entire store was nothing but a lie. He went to Libya WILLINGLY with the express intent to fight in a war. When he CHOSE to do that, it was on him to find his own way out of the mess. Not waste our politicians time and energy trying to bring him home. They have far more important problems to address like our failing economy! Seems like an attention seeker. Nothing more!


    GOSH. . .a Real American Hero!!. . . .give me a break!. . . .this wacko should have stayed over there. . . .Still got his BATTLE FATIGUES on. . .got to ride in a Jeep with a machine gun. . . .GOSH!. . .RAMBO AND ARNOLD. . .look out, . .here comes your rival. . .MIGHTY MATT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. . . .stay tuned for show times and dates!!!!!

  • Crazy!

    His story hit the Yahoo home page compliments of Associated Press. Read the backlash from people all over the country against this guy. They hate him.

  • loser go back and leave this country

    this is a joke why is the media even covering this loser. If he wants to be a hero serve your own country. And now he is training for his next battle. give me a break. Then he comes off the plane in his camo gear what a loser, why does the media even cover BullSh@t like this. Nobody cares

  • HA HA HA

    How would you like being on the flight with this unstable clown?

  • Michael

    If he wants to liberate people, let him start his fight on the streets of west Baltimore.
    Maybe he can make the new when the drug dealers leave him to bleed out in the gutter

  • T

    “He plans to start training for the next Middle Eastern revolution.” What a nut! Talk about delusional. He first stop after leaving BWI should have been a psychiatrists office.

  • george

    He is what is wrong with America.He`s craving media attention. Hero my ass.

  • Larry26

    I feel so very sorry for his family, especially his Mother. He is a big, overgrown spoiled brat. All of the money and the diplomatic pressure that was put out on this individual and when they did locate him, safely, he decides to stay there and fight for the rebels until Kadaffey was gone. I believe tha the is violation of our law. He on his own decides that the will fight for the rebels in a foreign army with out the approval of Congress. He needs to grow up, get a responsible job. He will still looking for help from Mom whe he is a senior, if she is still alive. Joining up to a foreign army is a whole lot different than being conscripted to serve a foreign army. Chin up Mom, you have spolled him and he will be just as a child coming to you completely all his life.

  • Fares Libya

    I surely don’t know the whole story, same as you guys, but in the end I find all the humanity have the same mind, whatever you do, you find someone to criticize and pull you down.
    I may agree about “Draw Attention” thing, but your comments seem to have the same action…

  • sheriff willie joe

    This guy was getting bung holed by camels over there in Libya.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Track Weather On The Go With Our App!

Listen Live