The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 2LT Joel Alois Matusek, who died in the service of his country on November 27th, 1967 in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Booby Trap. At the time of his death Joel was 21 years of age. He was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Joel is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 30E, Line 98.
The decorations earned by 2LT Joel Alois Matusek include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
Joel is buried in St George Cemetery, Kenosha, WI
Joel Matusek was my best friend growing up in High School. We both grew up in a small town on the Wisconsin/Illinios border, Antioch, Illinois. I still remember the summers we spent at Cross Lake with our other friends from Oakwood Knolls. Going hunting for pigeons, rabbits and squirrels in the woods around our subdivision. Driving his '53 Plymouth through the fields of corn stalks after harvest in a cornfield at St. Benedicts Abbey, Benet Lake, Wisconsin. And fishing from the banks of the channel of Cross Lake. I spent an inordinate amount of time at his house. Knowing his family, Mother, Father, Brothers and Sister very well. Driving around town in my 1950 Pontiac Chieftain or his 1953 Plymouth, checking out the sights and scenery (girls mostly), like all teenage boys. We shared confidences, sought one another's advice on dating and relationships, loves gained and lost. Life! I enlisted in the Marine Corps after my High School graduation, and when I came home for leave before reporting to my first duty station. I sought his advise about going to South Carolina to meet a girl I had been writing to. He advised me to go for it! To make a long story short, I eventually met the woman of my dreams and got married and started a family. I will regret forever, that I was never able to introduce Joel to my wife and son. I miss talking to you Joel. Friends forever, Les
804 Greenwood Avenue Carpentersville Il 60110 USA
Think about you often
I was Lt. Matuseks RTO on the day he was killed by a booby trap. I was with him when we were ambushed as we were trying to reach Sgt. Penny who we thought was hit and down. Joel moved quickly towards the action without a second thought. Unfortunately there was a booby trap that he tripped in front of me which probably saved my life but cost him his. He died almost instantly and suffered no pain as a result of his injuries
He was the best Lieutenant I had while I served in Nam because he was always concerned about his men and how they were on any given day. He was the type of leader that I would have followed anywhere because he CARED about us as fellow human beings and wouldn't have asked us to do something that he wouldn't consider doing. I have the utmost respect for his courage and strength that he exhibited everyday and think about him very often. Tom
was my platoon officer
117 Ellen Lane
Morgantown,WV 26505 USA
A Mannerly Gentleman
Lt.Joel Matusek reminded me of a history teacher. He was a slender, quiet-spoken person, he wore glasses. He had a very thoughtful manner about himself and he carried himself without a lot of noise and was never boastful nor did he behave like an Army disciplinarian. He always spoke respectfully to the NCO's and the men..he consulted the squad leaders, he was young and inexperienced when I met him, and I am sure he developed into a fine officer before he died. He was very studious about the map and very concerned about the men in his platoon. He was a classy young man, I remember that. Ed "Doc" Gerson Vietnam 1967-68
(His Silver Star Citaion)
Award of The Silver Star, General Orders 4679, 4th Infantry Division, 31 December 1967
For gallantry in action in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Second Lieutenant Matusek distinguished himself while serving as a Platoon Leader with C, 1/35th Infantry. On 27 November 1967 Lieutenant Matusek's platoon was participating in a search and destroy operation northwest of LZ Ross, when heavy contact was made with a reinforced company of North Vietnamese Regulars. Immediately, he deployed his men to strategic positions in preparation for a counterattack. As he moved to the front of his platoon, Lieutenant Matusek suddenly noticed two wounded men lying in the open. Disregarding his own safety, he moved forward to recover the first man and brought him back to the platoon's medical aidman for treatment. Witnessing the heroic act, the enemy increased the intensity of their fire on that sector of the perimeter. Though aware of the increased danger, Lieutenant Matusek again attempted to extricate the remaining soldier. In doing so, he was taken under fire by the enemy and mortally wounded. Second Lieutenant Matusek's gallantry in the face of enemy fire, determined leadership, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.