North High School Wall of Honor
Jerry Eugene Matthes
Class of June, 1948
Jerry Eugene Matthes
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
Jerry Eugene Matthes

Jerry graduated in the June, 1948 North High class. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on July 26, 1948 in Des Moines, IA. His service number was 649576. Jerry's next of kin was listed as Mr. Will A.J. Matthes, 3608 Rollins Avenue, Des Moines, IA.

Jerry Eugene Matthes
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1948   Graduated   Graduated from North High School, Des Moines, IA.
July 26, 1948 x US Marine Corps x Enlisted in Des Moines, IA.
date x Basic Training x San Diego, CA
date x Training x US Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, Hastings, NE?
Nov. 26, 1948-
x Duty x Transport to Guam, Marianas Islands. Duty in Guam and surrounds.
July 14, 1950-
x Enroute x Transport to Korea. Duty in Asiatic Pacific Theater/Korea; July 14, 1950 to December 15, 1950. See specific engagements listed in table below.
Dec.13, 1950
x Duty x *1st Marine Division at Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Feet frozen at Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
Dec.1,1950 x Wounded x Chosin Reservoir, North Korea
Dec., 1950 x Enroute x From Korea to States
xx Hospitalized x Recovery at Philadelphia Hospital
March 12, 1952 x US Marine Corps
Discharged/Staff Sgt
x Discharged at Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, Hastings, NE
July 4, 1953 x Family x Married Patricia Donahue in Des Moines, IA
date x Employed x Father (Will A.I. Matthes) owned paint store on East Side where Jerry worked for several years.
date x Employed x Custodian at grade school near Beaverdale. Custodian at Community College near Fleur Drive.
1968- x Employed x Instructor at Sheldon, IA Community College
1968-1999 x Retired x Retired in Sheldon, IA. Died 12/22/99
*1st Marine Division in Chosin Reservoir
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as the Chosin Reservoir Campaign or the Changjin Lake Campaign (simplified Chinese: pinyin: Cháng Jin Hu Zhàn Yì), was a decisive battle in the Korean War. Shortly after the People's Republic of China entered the conflict, the People's Volunteer Army 9th Army infiltrated the northeastern part of North Korea and surprised the US X Corps at the Chosin Reservoir area. A brutal seventeen day battle in freezing weather soon followed. In the period between 27 November and 13 December 1950, 30,000 United Nations (UN) troops (nicknamed "The Chosin Few") under the command of Major General Edward Almond were encircled by approximately 60,000. Chinese troops under the command of Song Shi-Lun. Although Chinese troops managed to surround and outnumber the UN forces, the UN forces broke out of the encirclement while inflicting crippling losses on the Chinese. The evacuation of the X Corps from the port of Hungnam marked the complete withdrawal of UN troops from North Korea.

Chosin Reservoir is a man-made lake located in the northeast of the Korean peninsula. The name Chosin is the Japanese rendition of the Korean place name Changjin, and the name stuck due to the outdated Japanese maps used by UN forces. The battle's main focus was around the 78 miles (126 km) long road that connects Hungnam and the Chosin Reservoir, which served as the only retreat route for the UN forces. Through this road, Yudami-ni and Sinhung-ni, located at the west and east side of the reservoir respectively, are connected at Hagaru-ri. From there, the road passes through Koto-ri and eventually leads to the port of Hungnam. The area around the Chosin Reservoir was sparsely populated. The battle was fought over some of the roughest terrain during some of the harshest winter weather conditions of the Korean War. The road was created by cutting through the hilly terrain of Korea, with steep climbs and drops. Dominant peaks, such as the Funchilin Pass and the Toktong Pass, overlook the entire length of the road. The road's quality was poor, and in some places it was reduced to a one lane gravel trail. On 14 November, a cold front from Siberia descended over the Chosin Reservoir, and the temperature plunged to as low as -35 degrees F (-37 degrees C). The cold weather was accompanied by frozen ground, creating considerable danger of frostbite casualties, icy roads, and weapon malfunctions.

On the night of 27 November 1950, the PVA 20th and 27th Corps of the 9th Army launched multiple attacks and ambushes along the road between the Chosin Reservoir and Koto-ri. At Yudam-ni, the 5th, 7th and 11th Marines were surrounded and attacked by the PVA 59th, 79th and 89th Division. Similarly, RCT-31 was isolated and ambushed at Sinhung-ni by the PVA 80th and the 81st Division. Finally, the PVA 60th Division surrounded elements of the 1st Marines at Kotor-ri from the north. Caught by complete surprise, the UN forces were cut off at Yudam-ni, Sinhung-ni, Hagaru-ri and Kotor-ri by 28 November.
Battles, Engagements, Skirmishes, Expeditions (Jerry E. Matthes)
Aug 4, 1950 - Sep 5, 1950 Against North Korean forces
Sep 15, 1950 - Sep 16, 1950 Assault and seizure of Inchon, Korea
Sep 17, 1950 - Oct 7, 1950 Capture and securing of Seoul, Korea
Oct 27, 1950 - Dec 5, 1950 Wonsan-Hungnam-Chosin Reservoir Campaign, North Korea. Injured at Chosin Reservoir.
1st Marines; Chosin Reservoir; Korea 1st Marines; Chosin Reservoir; Korea
Jerry Eugene Matthes
Staff Sergeant
1st Marine Division
United States Marine Corps

US Marine Corps Seal

US Marine Corps Insignia

1st Marine Division
Jerry Eugene Matthes
M1 Rifle Qualified

US Marines; Staff Sgt

M1 Carbine Qualified

United Nationsl Service Medal/Korea; Korean Service Medal w/3 stars; Naval Unit Citation; Presidential Unit Citation w/1 star; Purple Heart; Marine Good Conduct Medal

United Nations Service Medal/Korea; Korean Service Medal w/3 stars;
Naval Unit Citation; Presidential Unit Citation w/1 star;
Purple Heart; Marine Good Conduct Medal
His discharge paperwork reads: Character of service: excellent

(1) Information was obtained from the Records on Military Personnel Who Died, were Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War as a result of the Vietnam War. This document can be found online at the National Archives and Records Administration at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Jerry Eugene Matthes's 1948 class page is:
Died: 12/22/99; Sheldon, IA
Music: "Semper Fidelis"
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