Lee Z. Mathison

Gets Conduct Medal Serving in France
Lee Z. Mathison of Eau Claire recently has been awarded the Good Conduct Medal, according to the Division Public Relations Office. He is the son of Mr. Herbert W. Mathison, who lives at 402 1/2 Doty Street in Eau Claire.

Private First Class Mathison has been in the Army since October 1942 and has been serving in France with the 14th Armored Division's 500th Armored Field Artillery Battalion since October 1944. 

He is a graduate of Eau Claire High School and attended Eau Claire State Teachers College for 2 1/2 years prior to entering the Army. He also attended Indiana University in the Army Specialized Training Program.

Contributed by Lee Z. Mathison   Carrollton, Texas     June 9, 2003

I was a member of Lake Street Methodist Church and so was Tom Litchfield. The church has a regular mailing called the Circuit Rider, and they always sent it to service men. I recalled having read in it that Tom had been shot down and was believed to be a POW.

Shortly after entering the Moosburg POW camp as part of the 14th Armored Division, I went to the area housing American prisoners and asked if anyone knew a Tom Litchfield. One of the guys sitting on the floor knew Tom and, within minutes, Tom and I were together. Tom told me that Bob Field and Frank Ristau were also prisoners and, a few minutes later, I was with all three of them. We were all classmates at Eau Claire Senior High School.

Before I found Tom, I had given away to other prisoners anything I had in the jeep that they might want (candy, cigarettes, etc.,) so I returned to our mess sergeant and "restocked," so I could come back and make sure my Eau Claire friends were able to have the pleasure of sharing a "10 in One" ration. This was a box that contained enough for one man for ten days or for ten men for one day. It was something we received toward the end of the war and it contained, by far, the best rations we had. It held lots of "goodies," and my Eau Claire friends enjoyed dividing the "10 in One" three ways.

I saw Tom Litchfield and Bob Field often after the war; unfortunately, Frank Ristau later lost his life in a flight during the Berlin Airlift.

After the war, the 14th Armored Division became officially known as "The Liberators." We have a reunion convention every year. The reunions are held in various cities across the USA. We always contact the POW organization in the area of the convention and invite any POW liberated by us at Moosburg to be our guest at our meetings and dinners. They are invited to share their thoughts if they care to.