The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

United States Marine Corps

Daniel P. Matthews


Sergeant Daniel P. Matthews
United States Marine Corps

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 28 March 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 sprit, 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.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
President of the United States.

Footnote: Marine Sergeant Daniel Paul Matthews, 21, of Van Nuys, California was posthumously awarded the Nation's highest decoration on March 29, 1954 for his courageous actions on Vegas Hill. He was the 41st Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Korea. The Medal was presented to the Sergeant's parents, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Matthews of Saugas, California by Secretary of the Navy Robert B. Anderson.

Sergeant Matthews and his twin brother, Dave, were born inVan Nuys on December 31, 1931. Daniel 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 a Los Angeles contractor. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 21, 1951, and after completing "boot" training at San Diego that April, was promoted to Private First Class and assigned to Camp Pendleton, California. 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, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division the following month. After his death, his body was escorted to the United States in May, 1953 by his brother, Dave, who had enlisted in the Navy when Daniel joined the Marines. Sergeant Matthews is buried at Glen Haven Cemetery, San Fernando, California.
In addition to his twin brother and his parents, Sergeant Matthews was survived by another brother, William R., Jr. of Van Nuys and three sisters; Mrs. Betty Doyal of Encino, California, Mrs. Ronnie Scott of Sun Valley, California and Mrs. Mary Geasland of Van Nuys.
In October 1953 a Marine Camp in Korea was named in Sergeant Matthews honor. Present at the dedication ceremony Brigadier General Joseph C. Burger, Assistant Division Commander of theĀ  1st Marine Division who commented, "He gave his life that others may live". Also participating in the dedication of the sign that will mark the main gate of the newly named Camp Daniel P. Matthews, was Colonel Jack P. Juhan, commanding officer, 7th Marine Regiment and Lt. Colonel Joseph C. Missar, commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. Corporal Jack A. Rice of East Cleveland, Ohio, one of Sergeant Matthews closest friends, said he was "terrificathlete", but more than that, he was a "good Christian." He said he never met a man who was better liked. "As for his heroism, things of that nature were expected of him. I feel privileged to have been his buddy," Rice said.

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