Captain John Mateyko: A Man of God.

On Tuesday, we informed you on the passing of Captain John Mateyko, former commanding officer of Company M, 358th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. BOOTPRINTS author, Hobert Winebrenner, served under Mateyko, from Hill 122 in Normandy through war’s end. The thing that probably stuck with Winebrenner most about his leader was Mateyko’s faith.

Winebrenner recalled one such example while their group was holed up in Dillingen, Germany.

Captain John Mateyko - 90th ID

” …Low on sources of light, we grabbed a fair amount of candles from a local church,” Winebrenner wrote in BOOTPRINTS. “Some were unmistakably ceremonial, quite large and adorned with ornamental crosses. But at the time, we didn’t think twice and lit them that night.

“When Lieutenant Mateyko stopped by while making his rounds, he went through the roof. I’d never seen him like that. He lectured us about the sanctity of certain items and demanded that we extinguish the candles and return them to the church at dawn.

“We knew Mateyko was a religious man, but a well–oiled evangelist he was not. In fact, busy with the war, he rarely talked about it. I guess, rather than self-righteous rhetoric, he let his actions speak for his faith. In retrospect, they offered a much more convincing testimony.

“I admired Mateyko for his strength of character and respected him for sticking to his convictions. We all learned a valuable lesson that night, not only on what was holy, but also about our leader.”

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