Command Sergeant Major Joseph Lewis Mattison, United States Army Retired, and a Registered Nurse, passed away at his home on North Main Street in Wellsville, N.Y., on the afternoon of Tuesday December 20, 2016.
Joe was born to Ron and Earsol (nee Barnes) Mattison in April of 1955 in Bordeaux, France, while his father Ron was stationed with the United States Air Force at Châtearoux Déols Air Base. When Joe was a teen and while Ron was stationed in Alaska, Joe was sent to live with his maternal aunt and uncle, Rena and Don Cowels of Cuba, N.Y. They all later relocated to Scott Avenue in Wellsville, where Joe graduated from Wellsville High School in 1974, participating in band as a trumpet player, in various sports and as a member of the ski team.
Joe enlisted in the United States Army in 1974 to be an Infantryman with the Airborne Ranger option, and retired in July of 1998, having served in a variety of assignments during his military career.
Joe was an original member of the 1st Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he served in Bravo Company from 1974 – 1977. He was reassigned to serve as an instructor in the Army's Northern Warfare Training Center from 1977 – 1979, and then as an instructor with the 2nd Ranger Training Company, 5th Ranger Training Battalion (the Mountain phase of Ranger School) in Dahlonega, Georgia, from 1979 – 1984. Joe returned to the 75th Rangers from April 1984 through May 1986 as part of the initial cadre for the 3rd Ranger Battalion. Joe again returned to be an instructor in the 2nd Ranger Training Company/Mountain Ranger Camp from May 1986 – July 1988.
In August 1988, Joe returned to the 3rd Ranger Battalion, where he served as the Alpha Company First Sergeant until February 1991. While there, he participated in the combat jump during Operation Just Cause (the December 1989 invasion of Panama) and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in southern Turkey/ northern Iraq (January 1991). When he left the Ranger Regiment in 1991, Joe had served in every noncommissioned officer leadership position from team leader through first sergeant during his service with the Regiment.
Joe then had a succession of important assignments, to include Operations NCO for the 3rd Battalion, 325th Infantry (Task Force Lion), Vincenza, Italy (1991-3); the US Army Sergeants Major Course, Fort Bliss, TX (1993); 2d Squadron, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX (1993-4); 3rd Battalion, 22d Infantry Regiment (reflagged in 1995 as 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Shafter, HI (1994 – 6). CSM Mattison culminated his military career as the Command Sergeant Major for the Mountain Ranger Camp in July 1988.
His military awards include Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (fourth award), Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (sixth award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (fifth award), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (eighth award), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with arrowhead device, Southwest Asia Service Medal (with one bronze service star), Humanitarian Service Medal (second award), Noncommissioned officer's Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 4, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd award), Expert Infantryman Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, (with combat service in Grenada in October 1983 and in Panama in December 1989), Master Parachutist Badge (with one bronze combat jump star), Pathfinder Badge, and the Ranger Tab.
Joe was a life member of the United States Army Ranger Association and is the 110th member of the Ranger Hall of Fame. Joe was also a life member of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, life member Veterans of Foreign Wars, life member of the American Legion, a member of the Sons of Mosby Motorcycle Association, and the founder of The Order of Roger's Rangers.
Joe always considered Wellsville his hometown. In 1998 he settled in Wellsville, and went back to college to earn a degree in Nursing. He became a registered nurse for Jones Memorial Hospital, and later an ED/ICU Nurse for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bath, New York. When his mother-in-law was diagnosed as terminally ill, Joe temporarily relocated to Newington, Georgia, to care for her until her death. While in Newington, Joe served as a volunteer firefighter with his son, Adam, and his ex-wife Janet. When Joe returned to Wellsville, he worked as a supervising registered nurse at Wellsville Manor. Joe was also a member of the Wellsville Rod and Gun Club.
Joe will be cremated and his ashes will be interned at the Wellsville Cemetery in the spring. The celebration of Joe's life will be held at the Wellsville VFW on the afternoon of Saturday February 11, 2017. Additional memorial celebrations may be held in Georgia for active duty and retired military members at another time.
CSM Mattison is survived by his three children, Samantha (Mattison) Wagner, Adam J. Mattison, and Shiloh D. Mattison; his aunt, Rena I. Cowles; cousins, Don and Cathy (Barnes) Adams and Bill and Kari (Cowles) Hurley. Joe was predeceased by his father and mother, Ronald A. and Earsol M. Mattison.
Residents of Allegany County may please contribute an honorarium in honor of Joe to the Wellsville American Legion Auxiliary.