Daniel P. Matthews

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Daniel Paul Matthews
Matthews DP.jpg  A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Born (1931-12-31)December 31, 1931
Van Nuys, California
Died March 28, 1953(1953-03-28) (aged 21)
Killed in action in Korea
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1951-1953
Rank Sergeant
Unit 2nd Battalion 7th Marines
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Daniel Paul Matthews (December 31, 1931 – March 28, 1953) was a United States Marine Corps sergeant who was posthumously awarded the Nation’s highest decoration for his single-handed attack on an enemy machine gun nest which had prevented the evacuation of a wounded comrade. He was the 41st Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in Korea.

Biography[edit]

Daniel Paul Matthews and his twin brother were born in Van Nuys, California, on December 31, 1931. He was a member of the high school track and football teams before he left school in 1948 to work as a concrete-mixer operator for C.W. Organ, a Los Angeles contractor. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 21, 1951, and after completing recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego that April, was promoted to private first class and assigned to Camp Pendleton. While serving there with the 6th Infantry Training Battalion and the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, he was promoted to Corporal in March 1952 and to sergeant in July 1952.

He sailed for Korea in January 1953, joining Company F, 2nd Battalion 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, the following month. One month later, on March 28, 1953, Matthews was killed in action while single-handedly attacking an enemy machine gun nest.

After his death, his body was escorted to the United States in May 1953, by his brother, who had enlisted in the United States Navy. Sgt Matthews was buried in Glen Haven Cemetery, San Fernando, California.

The Medal of Honor was presented to his parents on March 29, 1954 by Secretary of the Navy Robert B. Anderson. The Pentagon ceremony also included presentation of posthumous Medals of Honor to the families of Sgt James E. Johnson and Cpl Lee H. Phillips.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Sgt Matthews' decorations include:

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars 
Bronze star
Medal of Honor Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal Korean Service Medal w/ 1 service star United Nations Korea Medal

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

SERGEANT DANIEL P. MATTHEWS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Squad Leader of Company F, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on March 28, 1953. Participating in a counterattack against a firmly entrenched and well-concealed hostile force which had repelled six previous assaults on a vital enemy-held outpost far forward of the main line of resistance, Sergeant Matthews fearlessly advanced in the attack until his squad was pinned down by a murderous sweep of fire from an enemy machine gun located on the peak of the outpost. Observing that the deadly fire prevented a corpsman from removing a wounded man lying in an open area fully exposed to the brunt of the devastating gunfire, he worked his way to the base of the hostile machine-gun emplacement, leaped onto the rock fortification surrounding the gun and, taking the enemy by complete surprise, single-handedly charged the hostile emplacement with his rifle. Although severely wounded when the enemy brought a withering hail of fire to bear upon him, he gallantly continued his valiant one-man assault and, firing his rifle with deadly effectiveness, succeeded in killing two of the enemy, routing a third and completely silencing the enemy weapon, thereby enabling his comrades to evacuate the stricken Marine to a safe position. Succumbing to his wounds before aid could reach him, Sergeant Matthews, by his indomitable fighting spirit, courageous initiative and resolute determination in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and was directly instrumental in saving the life of his wounded comrade. His great personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

/S/ DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.