The Army drafted Matthew Marek a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Upon reporting for service, Matthew received basic training and field artillery communications training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
After completing his training, he went to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, assigned to Battery A of the 126th Field Artillery, 32nd Infantry Division. There, Marek and his unit received orders to go to Ireland in preparation to fight in Europe. However, their orders were ultimately changed, and Matthew’s division went to Australia in preparation to fight in the Pacific.
From Australia, Marek and his division went to New Guinea. There, they hopped between the various islands, clearing them of Japanese forces. After New Guinea, Marek and his division participated in the liberation of the Philippines. There, Marek served as an artillery radioman, calling artillery support for his unit.
For his final mission, Marek deployed for the Luzon Campaign against Japanese forces in the Philippines. During the campaign, his unit hunted down the general of Japanese forces in the region, who was believed to be hiding in the hills of Cagayan Valley. After two months, he received orders to return home July 28, 1945.
During the Luzon Campaign, Marek earned the Bronze Star Medal for calling artillery behind enemy lines. The Army discharged him in October 1945 at the rank of technician 4. Upon discharge, Marek returned to his home in Philadelphia and began a family.
Marek passed away in May 2012 at the age of 95.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Editor: Jenna Robles
Fact checker: Kat Blanchard