Matkey, Leonard E., SSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1944
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Matkey, Leonard E., SSgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
Cerignola, Italy

Casualty Date
Jan 11, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Guardian Angel Cemetery - Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Leonard E. Matkey was born in Wisconsin in 1922, according to his NARA enlistment records. No census data or parentage have been located.

Matkey enlisted as a private in the Army Air Forces on August 24, 1942 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His enlistment documents indicate he had completed 1 year of college (unnamed), and was employed as a driver or chauffeur.

He was trained as an aerial gunner, and assigned to a combat unit in North Africa in mid-1943. According to Air Medal awards, he flew at least 50 missions. On January 11, 1943, his crew was assigned to bomb harbor facilities at Piraeus, Greece. The formation neared the target area, but encountered severe weather conditions.

Flying through a cloud bank, the lead element found winds that were excessive, and icing conditions occurred. Two of the aircraft decided to abort, but turned into the path of the second element.

Two of the B-17s collided, tearing the entire tail section from on aircraft, and trapping the tail gunner. The piece of wreckage somehow fell 19,000 feet and landed in a small grove of trees, allowing the gunner to survive. He was immediately captured, however. All other crew members were killed.

The dead were all buried locally, and after the war, retrieved and re-buried in various cemeteries. SSgt Matkey today lies in the Guardian Angel Cemetery in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
NARA Enlistment Records


SSgt Leonard E. Matkey was performing duty as the ball turret gunner on B-17F # 42-3098, named "Skippy," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 1832 was issued for this loss. No mission loading list is given, but the crew roster can be obtained from the MACR. The crew on board was:

Cpt Robert W, Goen, Jr.  p
1 Lt Henry J. Sudol  c-p
1 Lt Bruce E. Hicks  nav
1 Lt Robert B. Fasset  bomb
SSgt John A. Kemmler  eng/tt gun
TSgt Lucio A. Pittoni  r/o
SSgt Leonard E. Matkey  btg
SSgt Eldon C. Steerman  wg
SSgt James A. Raley  tail gunner

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

SSgt Raley was the only survivor.

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