Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation©

Marine Corps Vietnam-era Tankers and Ontosmen Have Made History. 

Your Historical Foundation is Making it Known.

Sergeant Clemence T. Matye, US MARINE CORPS

For service as set forth in the following:

  The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Sergeant [then Corporal] Clemence T. Matye, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with operations against Viet Cong forces while a tank crewman with 3d Platoon, Company B, First Tank Battalion, supporting Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), in the DaNang area of the Republic of Vietnam on 12 November 1968. After completing a road minesweep operation, Sergeant Matye's tank embarked seven infantrymen before returning to their base camp. Shortly after, the Viet Cong command detonated a forty pound fragmentation mine beside the moving tank. This explosion killed four Marines outright and wounded six others. Sergeant Matye found that his leg was severed at the knee and bleeding profusely. He also had shrapnel protruding from his eye. Displaying cool deliberation, Sergeant Matye removed his belt and applied it to his leg as a tourniquet on his severed leg. Small arms fire then broke out, but Sergeant Matye refused evacuation from his exposed position and remained at the tank's fifty caliber machine gun while his wounded tank commander went inside the tank to summon help on the radio. During the time remaining before help arrived, Sergeant Matye's calm reassuring manner and continuing smoothing monologue to those present was a source of great strength to the other wounded Marines, especially considering the very apparent devastating wounds that he had suffered. When the medical evacuation helicopter arrived, Sergeant Matye only agreed to evacuation after all other wounded Marines were loaded aboard the aircraft. By his courageous actions, personal initiative, and complete deduction to duty, Sergeant Matye reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.