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Curious Vietnam Veteran Special Forces Astronaut insignia grouping


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#1 Pluto

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:01 AM

Grateful for opinions as to what the story might be with this collection. The pieces have always been together, and have suffered slightly from being stored somewhere damp. 

 

All the insignia is circa 1980s era, including the 5th SF badge now on the black backing. The veteran's name - K.C. Matyi - is on 3 name plates and also woven into the NASA patch alongside names Hawley and Fix. The leather name plate has Army Aviator and Master Para wings, faint to see. The CIB has lost all its blue paint. The RVN wings and Ranger badges are US 70/80s made. Not sure what the gold metal badge with parachute canopy, wings, crossed swords and dagger is. Various SF DUI, a Space Command DUI, and a MACV SOG DUI. I can't ID the red/blue stripe medal ribbon directly below the Air Force Cross. I believe the other two (green/red and red/white) in this row are South Vietnamese. 

 

The astronaut wings are regular pilot wings, with astronaut device applied - ie, not all one casting. 

More unusual are the sterling silver Master Para wings on 5th SF backing - these are older than the rest of the insignia, possibly 60s. But what is odd is that the wreath has been gilded / gold-painted. The whole of the reverse of the wings are also gilded / gold-painted. I can't find any reference to gilded wreaths on para wings, not sure if this has a particular relevance. 

 

Tried doing a google search for Matyi but found nothing. The NASA Jump Team patch is a total mystery to me - perhaps this relates to high-altitude para jumping, where I believe in some instances the Astronaut wings may be awarded. 

 

All thoughts welcome !

 

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#2 Pluto

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:13 AM

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#3 Pluto

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:15 AM

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#4 Pluto

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:17 AM

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#5 Spy vs Spy

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 10:11 AM

Couldn't find any by the name M A T Y I listed in Sherman's Who's Who From MACV-SOG.

Isn't the SINE PARI pin worn by the "Delta boys" (CAG) ?

Very cool group and most interesting to say the least. Will be following this thread for sure.

Thanks for sharing.
Best
Martin

#6 mikie

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:38 AM

Try posting about this on collectspace.com

 

They are a very knowledgeable group and more than willing to help.  They are a bit like a space equivalent to here. 

 

Good luck.

 

Mikie  



#7 aznation

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:48 PM

Kenneth Charles Matyi

Class of 1962

Glendora High School

Glendora, California

 

 

 

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#8 aznation

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:49 PM

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#9 aznation

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:50 PM

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#10 aznation

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:51 PM

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#11 aznation

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:51 PM

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#12 aznation

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 03:02 PM

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything else related to Kenneth's service in the Army or Vietnam.



#13 Lee Ragan

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:31 AM

The Pilot /Astronaut wings are U.S. Air Force, not Army. He would not be awarded those wings unless he was a USAF Officer who had completed pilot training. From the photos, the astronaut wings look like cheap reproductions.



#14 Pluto

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:40 AM

thank you all for the feedback and the insight.

 

The 'KC Matsi' you ID'd Aznation - could be him, but would it make sense for a master paratrooper with extensive VN ribbons Silver Bronze Stars etc to only be a SP4 ? I'd have almost expected a higher rank with all that insignia. 

 

Astronaut wings - these are ok in fact, they have just suffered with exposure to damp as the rest of the group, they are a bit pitted from where the moisture eroded the plating and the patina has gone off.

I realise these are USAF wings, but my understanding is that (apart from USN) these were the only astronaut wings available until the army astronaut wing was introduced in 1984. And after some online research I gather that to be awarded the wings you do not have to be a pilot, but that the wings are granted for being 'in space', ie above 50 miles high. 

 

If all that is correct, then my assumption would be that if you were 'in space' for whatever reason, then at least before 1984 then these would have been the wings you got if you were Army. 

 

The NASA patch - with the word 'Jump' I wonder if this might be something to do with Space Diving / Skydiving etc, which might make sense with the Master Para badge. The other name on that patch - 'Hawley' - seems to be a celebrated astronaut from the 80s, Space Shuttle missions etc. 

 

This is a really peculiar grouping, I know all the pieces belong together but trying to figure out the narrative is I guess what makes collecting fun..

 

cheers,

 

P



#15 Lee Ragan

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 08:24 AM

There were other crew position astronaut wings. Awarding these USAF pilot/Astronaut wings to an Army enlisted man just doesn't make any sense. For what conceivable reason would an Army EM be awarded pilot/astronaut wings?



#16 12A54

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:44 AM

This could be just a clutter of unrelated stuff. The ribbons are random and have inappropriate devices on them. Mix of USAF, NASA, Army, and foreign badges. Just doesn’t seem at all likely all this is to one guy.

#17 aznation

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:03 AM

This could be just a clutter of unrelated stuff. The ribbons are random and have inappropriate devices on them. Mix of USAF, NASA, Army, and foreign badges. Just doesn’t seem at all likely all this is to one guy.

 

I agree with you on this based on what I see.  Also, no one has come up with another Matyi with the initials or name beginning with K. C., although I'm not saying there's not another one out there.  Can someone come up with one?  I will say this, it's a challenging grouping for sure.


Edited by aznation, 10 February 2019 - 10:04 AM.


#18 Kadet

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:19 AM

I don't think SP4 Kenneth C Matyi is a match. If the ribbons are legitimate, this man was an officer. (no GCM)..and a relatively senior one too given the DSM. Given the wings on the name tag, he was also an Army pilot. The Army registers might yield a clue


Edited by Kadet, 10 February 2019 - 10:20 AM.


#19 Bob Hudson

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:06 AM

I don't think SP4 Kenneth C Matyi is a match. 

 

This is a very uncommon last name and after an lenghty search, including paid online services - I think there is the slimmest of chances there would have been two KC MAYTI's in the Army during the same era.

 

The VA records show he served in the Army for three years from 1962 to 1965. He does not show up in Army Officer Registers or any other records available online, but there's really very little in the way of online military records from after the 1950's.

 

The NASA patch is intriguing. 



#20 Pluto

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:32 AM

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. The reason I bought this grouping was because, frankly, it seemed hard to make sense of and in that sense struck my curiosity. 

 

Glad to see I am not the only one baffled by this group. 

 

My initial reading was that the medal ribbons, insignia etc looked like an SF VN soldier, fairly experienced enough to be a master paratrooper, aviator, to have the SVN para wings with additional jump star, CIB with star, Ranger qualified etc. That part of the insignia all makes sense to me, and suggests an experienced officer or NCO If the medal ribbons are correct, then silver stars, bronze stars, 2 purple hearts, etc and various VN service medals all suggest a certain career. I agree however that some of the ribbon devices seem inconsistent. 

 

I agree Matyi has to be a rare name, but an EM doing 3 years 62-65 does not to me look like the guy who wore this insignia. 

 

I will be the first to admit the astronaut / NASA connection seems really bizarre, that's why I bought the group. Came out of a collection in Japan that is being dispersed so I have no earlier history. To my eye, all the pieces are of the same approx age and look like they have spend a long time together, somewhere damp. To me everything looks circa 1970/80s, however the sterling para wings I suspect might be older. These in themselves are odd with the gold wreath. 

 

But at the root of whatever this group is, are the patches with the Matyi name - one a leather tag with army aviator and master para badges, the other a custom woven NASA patch with the Matyi name woven into it. So on that basis, if these really are legit - and not a Walter Mitty scenario - then there has to be some military / NASA link to this guy at least on the basis of these two patches. And on that basis, all the other assembled insignia, even also the SF and Space DUIs all have a certain logic when weighed against those two named patches. 

 

I have no aspirations for this group beyond cerebral exercise and the analysis of the bizarre - if there is a story to tell then I am all for it. Likewise, if this is a Walter Mitty group, then I appreciate the sum of its parts. 

 

Thanks for all the comments,

 

Cheers

 

P



#21 Bob Hudson

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 12:00 PM

I thought some more about the VA  death records: his only shows a three-year enlistment: I would think that if he'd served after that, the VA would show those dates too. 

 

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#22 Kadet

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 12:16 PM

A couple other thoughts...aren't those National Guard ribbons on the bottom? Also, is the first initial a K or an R? Hard to tell on the worn tag.



#23 aznation

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:06 PM

Does the tag that appears to have the name K. C. Matyi utilize velcro to attach each other?  If so, that would be post-Vietnam, correct?  Also, like Kadet asked, is the first initial a K or an R?  It would be helpful to know for sure.  Thanks...



#24 Kadet

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:10 PM

Actually I believe VELCRO came in to use in the early 60s



#25 917601

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 01:49 PM

I have been following this fascinating thread. From personal experience, I would like to throw in an off the wall possibility. A decade ago I did some DOS advisor work in SA. I saw a lot of really weird stuff working hand in hand with DIA, CIA, NSA, and a whole other bunch of three letter agencies that I never heard of. That said, I know some operatives ( not DOD) did in fact wear military uniforms with fictitious names, ranks,rating badges so as to not blow an operation or draw attention to themselves, and vice versa. My initial guess on this man is he was involved in covert and sensitive operations not related to DOD, but perhaps DOS, CIA, NSA, NAS,etc, None of which will ever come to light with any search, but only by word of mouth from perhaps a fellow spook or co worker who was there on those specific operations.

Edited by 917601, 10 February 2019 - 01:57 PM.



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