Marianas Variety

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    Tuesday, February 20, 2018-4:18:38P.M.






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WWII veteran Carl Matthews to visit Saipan in 2014

HIS photograph with two other Marines in front of an Amtrac on a beach in Chalan Kanoa in 1944 has graced a number of publications and is now hanging on the wall at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia.

WWII Veteran Carl Matthews is seen on the beach of Saipan along with other Marines on June 15, 1944.   Contributed photo
Texas resident and WWII veteran 89-year-old Carl Matthews is planning another trip to Saipan as he looks forward to joining in the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Pacific’s D-Day — the Battles of Saipan and Tinian.

“Please know that I am delighted to learn that plans are firm for the 70th Anniversary of Operation Forager at Saipan,” said Matthews.

Matthews, who was on Saipan during the 60th Anniversary of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian, told Variety, “My lovely companion, Samantha Green, will accompany me to Saipan. We prefer not to stay in a hotel, We have learned that staying in a private home is much more rewarding. We make new friends, learn the customs and culture better, and see more of the really important features of an area. We always more than pay our way, careful not to burden our hosts financially.”

Matthews said he stayed on Saipan for 23 days in 1944; a month in 2004; and three weeks in 2005.

During the time that he was here, he said he never spent a single night at a hotel.

“I made many friends on Saipan, and stay in touch with many of them,” he said.

As to their now-famous photograph that recently landed on the cover of the WWII magazine, Matthews said it was taken on June 15, 1944.

“We were on the beach for no more than 90-seconds, but in that time a combat photo was made in which I appear. An enlargement of that photo now hangs in the Saipan exhibit at the National Marine Corps Museum,” he said.

He said he was with Lt. James Stanley Leary Jr. of Ahoskie, North Carolina, who died on Day-23 and Windol Nightingale, of Skowhegan, Maine, who died on Day-4.

Matthews said that he continues to communicate with other Marines of his company.

“I have attempted to stay in touch with Marines of my company — G-2-23 — of the 4th Marine Division,” he said.

He said G-Company experienced 81 percent casualties.

“Most have died, few still live, and most of them are infirm. I still maintain contact with the Leary and Nightingale families,” he said referring to the families of his fellow Marines he was with on the Chalan Kanoa beach in 1944.

Matthews is close friends with 1St Lt. James Stanly Leary’s brothers William and Thomas.

He said G Company has held several reunions.

“G-Company had one reunion in Louisville KY 1955; three in Atlanta GA 1995-1997-1999; and a final gathering in Florida 2001. Since 2001, G-Company contacts have been via telephone, email, and, in a few instances, short visits,” he said.

Matthews acknowledged that he recently had some difficulties with his heart.

“I have had a difficult 15-months with a heart condition, but last week, after blood work, an EKG, etc, my doctor announced that I was in amazing health for someone my age. My strength and endurance remain low, but improve each week.

New book

Matthews is close to completing a book which he sees getting published this year.

He confirmed to Variety that his book “The Feather Merchant” will be published before the end of the year.

His book, he said, includes his experiences as a WWII Marine in the Pacific.

“The initial book signing will be at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico VA.,” he said.

His biography

According to his biography available online, Matthews was born on Aug. 14, 1924 in Corsicana, Texas where his father was employed by the Ford Motor Company.

Carl Matthews with his friend Samantha on his birthday in 2011.  Contributed photos
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1941.

He was initially with the 8th Marine Regiment which was among the first contingents of troops to leave the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Matthews contracted an undiagnosed illness in Pago Pago, American Samoa and he was sent back to California for treatment.

After his release from the hospital, he served as a clerk at the headquarters in San Diego.

Following his completion of combat training in 1943, he was assigned to G Company.

In February of 1944, he participated in the invasion of the Marshal Islands.

Then on July 15, 1944, he was among the first wave of Marines to storm the beaches of Saipan.

Having spent 23 days on the island, he was shipped to the U.S.S. Samaritan, a hospital ship, then later to a Navy hospital in Noumea, New Caledonia where he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Matthews obtained a college degree from Baylor University in 1948, then earned his master’s degrees in theology in 1953 and religious education in 1956.

A former teacher and minister, Matthews also was owner, editor and publisher of The Burleson Shoppers Guide.

Later he became associated with the American Heart Association.

He also engaged in a steel business.

Matthews returned to Saipan to join the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Saipan commemoration. He was among the 50 veterans to participate, including B-29 Enola Gay Captain Paul Tibbets who led the crew that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945.

With plans now firm for the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian, Matthews is upbeat about coming over again to Saipan.

As to the celebration of 70th Year of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian for June 2015, Matthews said, “Keep me in the loop until next June.”