Army Air Force Sergeant Archibald Mathies - World War II

USCIS Dallas District Office

Image of Archibald Mathies
Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

Archibald Mathies was born in Stonehouse, Scotland in 1918. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940, and graduated  from airplane mechanic school weeks before the United States entered World War II.

Mathies was assigned to a U.S. Army Air Corps Bomber Wing, where he was a B-17 flight engineer, responsible for servicing the airplane in-flight and on the ground; he was a critical link between the pilot, bomber and the crew.

Mathies was presented the Medal of Honor posthumously...

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy in connection with a bombing mission over enemy-occupied Europe on Feb. 20, 1944, while serving with the 510th Bombardment Squadron, 351st Bombardment Group (H), Eighth Air Force. The aircraft on which 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 plane severely damaged.

"Nevertheless, Mathies and other members of the crew managed to right the plane 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 plane. 

"Other members of the crew were ordered to jump, leaving Mathies and the navigator aboard. After observing the distressed aircraft from another plane, Mathies' commanding officer decided the damaged plane could not be landed by the inexperienced crew and ordered them to abandon it and parachute to safety.

"Demonstrating unsurpassed courage and heroism, Mathies and the navigator replied that the pilot was still alive but could not be moved and they would not desert him. They were then told to attempt a landing. After two unsuccessful efforts, the plane crashed into an open field in a third attempt to land. Sergeant Mathies, the navigator, and the wounded pilot were killed. —from Archibald Mathies’ Medal of Honor citation

Mathies is buried at Finleyville Cemetery in Finleyville, Pa.

This text is from the official citations, military historical records, obituaries and other text posted on the Internet, including, and the Military Times Hall of Valor. 

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