Local WWII veteran honored on 100th birthday

World War II veteran and Tulare resident Richard Matthews stands with several members of the Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, who honored him for his 100th birthday in May.

Marine Wing Support Squadron 473 honors Tulare resident Richard Matthews as he celebrates his 100th birthday

TULARE – U.S. Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 473 (MWSS-473) recently honored World War II veteran Richard Matthews during his 100th birthday celebration on Armed Forces Day on May 18.

Born May 26, 1924, Matthews enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on Nov. 25, 1942, and served as a military policeman, participating in action at Vella Lavella, New Georgia, Bougainville, British Solomon Islands and the occupation of Japan. Cpl. Matthews received an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps on Dec. 17, 1946.

After his military service, Matthews returned to live in Glendale, California and began a career in construction. He married his wife Dolores in 1948 and they raised two children, a daughter Debbie and a son Richard. In addition to his construction career, Matthews also owned a ranch where he bought and rode horses and raised beef cattle. In 2005, Matthews and his wife moved to Tulare to be closer to their two children, five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Throughout his life Matthews has been a devoted family man, outdoor enthusiast and pilot, having earned his private pilot’s license in 1975.

During the birthday celebration, the Marines from MWSS-473 visited with Matthews and his friends and family at his home, and presented him with a special birthday message from the 20th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.

“The Marine Corps places great value on its history and the battles fought during WWII specifically, our inspiring stories of grit and determination, perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. We take those lessons, and we pass that on to our junior Marines,” said Maj. Ryan Fielding, MWSS-473, Site Commander. “It was an absolute pleasure to have been invited into the Matthews home and to share in the 100th birthday celebration of Corporal Richard Matthews. We were honored to spend time with Corporal Matthews and we appreciated the opportunity to learn of his Marine Corps experiences.”

MWSS-473 falls under the command of Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve. Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing comprises over 7,200 Marines and Sailors and 160 aircraft located in 14 states throughout the U.S. The unit provides combat-ready aviation forces, capable of conducting missions across a range of military operations.

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