News: Neillsville – Am. Legion to Honor Vietnam Vet (Apr 2018)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
----Surnames: Mathis, Pfieger, Pagenkopf, Rollins
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 3/28/2018
American Legion to Honor Mathis (Military Service – 2 April 2018)
American Legion to Honor Howard “Howie” Mathis
The Neillsville American Legion Post 73 is featuring Howard “Howie” Mathis as its honored veteran for April.
Born in Genesco, IL, Mathis moved with his family to Neillsville in 1959. Mathis attended Neillsville High School and graduated in 1967.
He worked on the family farm until he joined the Army in November of 1967. He was sent to ft. Campbell, KY, for basic training and then transferred to Aberdeen, MD, for advanced individual training in wheel and track mechanics.
In June of 1968, Mathis was transferred to the First Logistical Command, 54th Ordnance, in Long Binh, Vietnam. He worked at the ammunition dump that was about 5 miles from base; there were three such areas.
Mathis’s job was to unload flatbed semi-trailers and 5-ton trucks that arrived on barges. The loading pads were 400-400 feet surrounded on three sides by 20-foot-high berms.
Some of the munitions were 105mm, 175mm and 8-inch rounds, of which the infantry used all.
Mathis said that, when he first arrived at the area, they were understaffed because of personnel being sent into the field. He worked double duty on the dump area and on guard duty.
In December of 1968, he went to Australia for rest and recreation, and then returned to Vietnam.
In July of 1969, he returned home on leave.
Mathis then was transferred in August of 1969 to Chu Lai, Vietnam, to serve with the Americal Division.
In October 1970, he was transferred to Duc Pho, Vietnam. He was discharged in June of 1970.
“I guess I wasn’t a very good mechanic, because they put me in Ammo,” Mathis said. “At least it wasn’t in the infantry.”
Mathis returned to Neillsville and worked on his family’s farm and at Van Gorden’s Feed Mill.
He married Kathy Pfieger in August of 1979.
In 1980, Mathis took over this family’s farm.
He and Kath have children Sam, Elizabeth and Ben. They have grandchildren: Alyssa, Gabriel, Abigail, Alaina, Anita, Ellie, Graycen, Redmond Owen, Benjamin and Haddie.
Mathis continues to help his son on the family’s farm and enjoys being with his grandchildren. He also is a collector.
The honored veteran is a Veterans of Foreign Wars and Neillsville American Legion Post 73 member. He leads the Post 73 Color Guard and is a past commander.
Mathis is a weekly volunteer at the Post 73 hall.
He will be honored at Post 73’s April 2 meeting at the Post’s hall in Neillsville. A social period will start at 4:30 p.m.; a potluck dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. The general public is invited.
Post 73 News:
A large crowd of family, friends, and members enjoyed a potluck dinner and entertainment on March 5 to honor Ray Pagenkopf and his sons for their service.
No March monthly meeting was held. Post members instead celebrated the American Legion’s 99th birthday. Frieda Rollins was thanked for providing the birthday cake for the event.
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