Robert W. Matje

  • Captain
  • Vietnam


Robert W. Matje was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the son of Frank and Anna K. Matje. Bob is a 1957 graduate of Central Bucks High School and attended prep school at Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1958. He was a member of the football and track teams, varsity clubs and Dean’s List. He entered the University of Rhode Island on a football scholarship with the Class of 1962. He was a member of Alpha Pi Rho Honor Society & Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity while at URI. He was a member of the football team, the RI Club and participated in Army ROTC. He was a Cadet Battalion Commander and a member of the Scabbard and Blade Military Honor Society. Bob was selected to represent URI at the Army ROTC annual leadership conference at West Point during his senior year.

Upon graduation in June 1962, Bob earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Arts and was commissioned a Regular Army Second Lieutenant of Infantry. His initial company grade assignment was at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia where he attended the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course, Airborne School, and Ranger Training. Bob’s first troop assignment was with the 4th Armored Division in Germany as an Infantry and Armored Cavalry Platoon Leader and Battalion Intelligence Officer.

In July 1966, Bob was assigned as a Senior Advisor to the 2d RVN Infantry Battalion, 48th Regiment, 18th RVN Infantry Division, Vietnam where he was involved in combat operations during his year-long tour. CPT Matje received the RVN Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star for heroism.

The award citation states:

On 27 April 1967, Captain Matje’s unit was participating in Operation “Chu-Thang 22” against a hostile enemy force in the Bien Hoa Province. When the 35th Regional Company clashed fiercely with the enemy, Captain Matje kept calm under the accurate firing of the enemy to maintain communications and direct fighting planes in strafing attacks which resulted in significant destruction to the enemy force and allowed his unit to successfully complete its mission.

Additionally, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal.

Upon completion of his combat tour in Vietnam, Captain Matje was eligible for discharge from the US Army. Instead, CPT Matje volunteered to extend his time on active duty and was assigned as the Operations Officer, Patrolling Committee, Ranger Department, U.S. Army Infantry School, at Fort Benning, Georgia. His primary responsibility was to train officers and non-commissioned officers preparing for deployment to Vietnam. During his short Army career, CPT Matje had multiple key Infantry assignments. In all positions, he performed his duties in a superb manner and was responsive to the needs of the Army. He is a dynamic leader, manager and tactical problem solver.

CPT Matje is an outstanding example of a citizen soldier. He left active duty in 1968 after six years and immediately joined the U.S. Army Reserves and continued to serve our country. Bob went on to have a successful career as Sales Manager for the Paper Corporation of America in New York. He rose from salesman to sales manager and vice-president of the corporation. In 1999, Bob declined a promotion to become the president of the corporation and chose to remain in his present position because of family, volunteer and community activities.

Captain Bob Matje is a long-standing member of the URI Alumni Association and a strong supporter of the URI Army ROTC Alumni Chapter, the URI 5th Quarter Club and the URI Foundation. When the URI ROTC Alumni Chapter embarked on the campaign to upgrade the ROTC Hall of Fame Display in the Memorial Union, Bob stepped forward and made a significant contribution for the project. In addition,

Bob has been an Assistant Scoutmaster and Committee Member in the Boy Scouts of America for over forty years. He has volunteered as a Little League coach for ten years and was involved in the YMCA Indian Princesses and Guide Programs. He is also a life member and supporter of VFW Post 106. Bob is a major contributor and member of the Endless Mountains War Memorial Museum and has donated numerous items of memorabilia for display. He volunteers for the Great Valley School District twice a week assisting the Physical Education Teacher. He also participates in Veteran’s Day celebrations with his granddaughters at their local schools as a guest speaker.

Bob and his wife Peggy reside in Malvern, PA. They have three children and six grandchildren. His son Robert followed in Bob’s footsteps by participating in ROTC and serving in the US Army. Robert graduated from Lafayette College and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Engineer Corps.

Captain Robert W. Matje’s outstanding leadership and innovation as well as his devotion to the military, his business and communities reflect great credit upon himself, his family, our country and the University of Rhode Island.