Matthew Pavel, a
twenty-year old railroad worker with just one year of high school under
his belt, enlisted in the U. S. Army on October 17, 1942 in
Indianapolis, Indiana and volunteered for parachutist duty. He was
sent immediately to Camp Blanding where the 508th PIR had just been
activated. On arrival he was assigned to Company E
completion of basic training at Camp Blanding the regiment moved to Fort
Benning, GA for jump school. In March 1943, after the completion
of his five requisite jumps "from an aircraft in flight", Pvt
pinned on his coveted parachutist wings. The unit then moved on to
Camp Mackall, NC for advanced training.
In October 1943
Matthew suffered an injury during a practice night jump and was removed
from jump status.
He was transferred to the
regular infantry and ultimately became a member of a mortar squad in
Company I, 335th Infantry, 84th Division.
Pfc Pavel arrived in England in October
1944. From there he was sent to France on November 1, 1944.
His unit crossed Holland and entered Germany. By that time he had
become the squad leader for an 60mm mortar platoon. His luck ran out on November 29th when during a
German counter attack at Lindem (south of Bremen), Germany, he was captured
and became a prisoner of war.
Pfc Pavel Matthew was interned at Stalag 2A
Neubrandenburg Mecklenberg 53-13, approximately 72 miles north of
Berlin. He was liberated in April 1945 by a Soviet armored
(courtesy of Judith Norman)
Grave marker for Matthew
Pavel in Section H of the Calvary Cemetery, Portage (Porter county),
Matthew enlisted in the
Army at Indianapolis, IN 17 October 1942