James Leonard Matthews
Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
Worth, Illinois
October 06, 1944 to May 10, 1968
JAMES L MATTHEWS is on the Wall at Panel 58E, Line 11

James L Matthews
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"I just came across proof that James Leonard Mathews' (5-10-68) name is misspelled on the Wall and is not listed with your list of known misspellings."

"E troop and most of 2nd Squadron were working out of our Regimental basecamp. They were probably working in platoon size increments (8 Armored Combat Assault Vehicle (ACAVs)) as they were only two and a half klicks south of Blackhorse... east of Saigon, when James' ACAV, E35, hit a mine just south of the basecamp. The ACAV hit the mine just off the road, flipped, and landed upside down on James killing him instantly. The other crew members were thrown clear and pretty badly shaken up, but not too seriously hurt. The mine hit the left rear of the ACAV. "

Attached is a photo of his grave marker. I have more photos and information and would appreciate it if you could help me to get his last name changed.

-- Larry Cofty, 05/14/2012

Further correspondence confirmed the last name change and it was completed May 2, 2013. SSG Matthews name on The Wall in Washington at panel 58E, line 11 is Mathews and no known request has been made by family to have a new name re-inscribed.

1st photo submitted by Larry Cofty below show SSG Matthews and his tank crew at Fort Riley, kansas in early 1967 when he was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Below that is a photo of James 'taking a break' near his ACAV.



On April 18, 1968, then SGT Matthews was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for heroism ("V" device) for distinguishing himself in connection with military operations against a hostile force on January 6, 1968, while serving as a point man.

The 2nd squadron was conducting a reconnaissance in force mission southwest of Loc Ninh when the lead element of the friendly force was subjected to a heavy barrage of rocket, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from a well concealed enemy bunker complex. One of the tanks was hit with a white phosphorous rocket propelled grenade, killing PFC Troy Cleveland Battles, H Company, from Peoria Illinois and PFC John Martin, Jr, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who were riding on the tank.

Also killed during this encounter, was CPL Jerry Wayne Wickam, F Troop, Rockford Illinois, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the bunker complex before being killed.

Sergeant Matthews' actions in that event are noted below in General Orders 2538. In addition, SSG Matthews was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service for the period 29 July 1967 to 10 May 1968.


SSG Matthews is buried in Lightsville cemetery, Leaf River Illinois along with his mother, Katherine C Matthews and his father, Samuel A Matthews. At the time of his death, SSG Matthews' parents were living in Worth, Illinois.



-- The Virtual Wall, May and June 2013

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