Another Good One is Gone: John Mateyko has died..

I recently received the sad news that John Mateyko, former CO of Company M, 358th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division, passed away in Glenview, Illinois. Captain Mateyko took over charge of Company M following Captain Marsh’s death on Hill 122. Mateyko would prove to not only be an outstanding leader of men, but maybe even more so, a truly wonderful person.

Hobert Winebrenner, in his book BOOTPRINTS, spoke of Mateyko’s heroics at the Falaise Gap.

Capt. John Mateyko - Co. M, 358th Infantry, 90th ID

“Multiple German tanks stormed Lieutenant Mateyko’s section of the line. At such close range, the enemy machine guns shredded his ranks, while their 88 cannon shells simply cut soldiers in two. In the face of the onslaught, Mateyko attempted to steady his group, but they soon faltered. As GIs raced for the rear, he bravely held his ground. He grabbed a discarded bazooka and dropped to a prone position. While under extremely heavy fire, he disabled three opposing tanks, one right after the other. Inspired by their leader’s courage, his men rallied. Together they squelched what remained of the enemy surge.

General James Van Fleet presents Captain Mateyko with the Silver Star.

“Mateyko was a modest sort. He would shoulder the responsibility for his unit’s shortcomings, rather than blame them. Similarly, when good things happened, he always credited his men, not himself. But at Chambois, try as he might, he couldn’t escape the personal accolades. Too many Americans, including our battalion commander, Colonel Bealke, had witnessed his heroic actions. Like it or not, Mateyko rightfully received a Silver Star for courageously holding the line against enemy armor at Falaise.

“More than ever, I began to realize that there was something very special about John Mateyko. He possessed the uncanny ability to pull through the worst imaginable, and not only alive, but also, unscathed. He had sidestepped the disaster at our CP by seconds, just a few short weeks ago, only to come here and go toe to toe with three Kraut tanks. And win! Unbelievable! Mateyko will be the first to admit that he wasn’t lucky—he was blessed. Luck had a randomness about it, whereas his faith did not. “The good Lord took care of me from beginning to end,” he humbly confessed. “Some of those situations that I lived through—I knew He was with me, so I just didn’t worry about it. I put my life in His hands.”

One Response to “Another Good One is Gone: John Mateyko has died.”

  1. Sandra Richards says:

    My Dad served under under Lieutenant Mateyko as a machine gunner in M Company, joining just after Hill 122. If anyone is watching this sight, would you please let me know and make contact with me. My Dad is Burnett (Burnie) Sutter, he is about to turn 98. I am trying to research just where 358th, M company was fighting in the Battle to close Falaise Gap. He said he had his machine gun in the middle of the road as the Germans were coming around a bend in the road trying to escape, so they did not know that he or his company was there, so most were captured if they gave up, others killed who did not surrender. I am going to that area in June of this year (2019), and would like to be able to find that spot if possible. Please respond as soon as possible if someone is at the other end of this request. Thank you so much!
    Sandra Sutter Richards
    Dallas, Texas

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