Fred W. Matz
First Lieutenant, United States Army
1942: Urbana Force during the Battle of Buna, New Guinea:
When Company L was held up by enemy fire on the outskirts of the Plantation, Sergeant Kenneth E. Gruennert, who was in the lead, alone eliminated two pillboxes that were holding up the advance, at the cost of his life. Sergeant Gruennert was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Sergeant (then Private First Class) Gruennert was a Wisconsin National Guard soldier in Company L, in Jefferson, Wisconsin, when the 32nd Division was activated on 15 October 1940.
"Under fire from both the Japanese and their
own artillery, [and out of contact with their Company] the men of the platoon
were in a desperate situation. Lieutenant Middendorf was killed and Lieutenant
Matz had only eight men left, one of them seriously wounded. Matz decided
to send the other men back and to stay with the wounded man. It took the
men two days to get back and it was eight days before Matz was rescued.
Matz was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Posted: 22 April 2006