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NAPLES, Italy — Lt. Matt C. Roose couldn’t wait to get back to his beachfront home in Key West, Fla.

The sailor — who friends remembered as an upbeat, Jimmy Buffett type of guy — died early Wednesday in a car crash.

“He used to rave about his pier. … His main goal was to get back to Key West,” said Lt. Mike Williamson, communications officer at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Europe Central (known as NCTAMS), where Roose worked.

As a watch officer for the Joint Fleet Tactical Operations Center, Roose, 39, was the central point of contact for satellite communications for the 6th and 5th fleet area of operations.

“He was the best top watch officer,” Williamson said. During the holidays, “since he was here single, he volunteered to take extra watches for the people who’re married with kids.”

Roose was pronounced dead on arrival at an Italian hospital after his Honda Civic was found off the SS-7 motor way in a watery ditch near Villa Literno, northwest of Naples.

Italian Carabinieri, who notified Naples base security at about 4 a.m. Wednesday of the incident, are leading the investigation.

Roose, who joined the Navy almost 21 years ago, arrived in Naples in January with hopes of getting back to his wife in the States on his next tour.

“He knew what he wanted to do,” said Chief Warrant Officer Les Britt, a tactical planning officer at NCTAMS. Britt used to run with Roose, who lived in Meseno with a view of the sea.

“He was in the sun all the time … he was interested in anything outside,” including water sports and gardening, Britt said.

Roose, a volunteer firefighter in Key West, collected Italian stone cherubs and lions, with which he planned to line his Florida pier.

A memorial service will be held after the holidays at Capodichino.


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