Mathies -- Ssgt Archibald Mathies


Archibald Mathies enlisted in the Army at Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 30, 1940. He served at Maxwell Field, Ala., and Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and in October 1941, graduated from the Airplane Mechanic School at Chanute Field, Ill. He went to Mitchel Field, N.Y., with the 1st Air Support Command and the 33rd Pursuit Group, with promotions in mid-1942 to corporal and sergeant.

In March 1943, he completed the Army Air Force Flexible Gunnery School course at Tyndall Field, Fla Varied assignments at Godman Field, Ky:, Morris Field, N.C.; Pyote, Texas and Alexandria, La., followed after which Sergeant Mathies went to England in December 1943, for assignment to the 351st Bomb Group's 510th Squadron as an engineer-gunner.

He was promoted to staff sergeant Feb. 17, l944, and three days later, on his second mission, lost his life while flying, in a heavy bomb attack on enemy installations at Leipzig Germany, for which he received the Medal of Honor. The citation, in part. reads: "...The aircraft on which Sergeant Mathies was serving as engineer and ball turret gunner was attacked by a squadron of enemy fighters with the result that the copilot was killed outright, the pilot wounded and rendered unconscious, the radio operator wounded, and the air plane severely damaged. Nevertheless, Sergeant Mathies and other members of the crew managed to right the airplane and fly it back to their home station where they contacted the control tower and reported the situation. Mathies and the navigator volunteered to attempt to land the airplane. Other members of the crew were ordered to jump, leaving Mathies and the navigator aboard. After observing the distressed aircraft from another plane, Mathies' commander decided the damaged airplane could not be landed by the inexperienced crew and ordered them to abandon it and parachute to safety. Demonstrating unsurpassed courage and heroism, Sergeant Mathies and the navigator replied that the pilot was still alive but could not be moved and that they would not desert him. They were then told to attempt a landing. After two unsuccessful efforts the airplane crashed into an open field in a third attempt to land. Sergeant Mathies, the navigator and the wounded pilot were killed."

See the
full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.

Read the publication "SSgt Archibald Mathies..." written by Sean M. Miskimins of the Airmen Memorial Museum.