Daniel Matthews was born on December 31, 1931, in Van Nuys, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on February 21, 1951, and completed basic training at MCRD San Diego, California, in April 1951. Cpl Matthews next attended infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California, from April to July 1951, followed by service as a rifleman with Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division at Camp Pendleton from July 1951 to January 1953. Sgt Matthews then deployed to South Korea and served with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division from February 1953 until he was killed in action on March 28, 1953. He was buried at Glen Haven Cemetery in San Fernando, California.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader of Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Participating in a counterattack against a firmly entrenched and well-concealed hostile force which had repelled 6 previous assaults on a vital enemy-held outpost far forward of the main line of resistance Sgt. Matthews fearlessly advanced in the attack until his squad was pinned down by a murderous sweep of fire from an enemy machine gun located on the peak of the outpost. Observing that the deadly fire prevented a corpsman from removing a wounded man lying in an open area fully exposed to the brunt of the devastating gunfire, he worked his way to the base of the hostile machine gun emplacement, leaped onto the rock fortification surrounding the gun and, taking the enemy by complete surprise, single-handedly charged the hostile emplacement with his rifle. Although severely wounded when the enemy brought a withering hail of fire to bear upon him, he gallantly continued his valiant 1-man assault and, firing his rifle with deadly effectiveness, succeeded in killing 2 of the enemy, routing a third, and completely silencing the enemy weapon, thereby enabling his comrades to evacuate the stricken marine to a safe position. Succumbing to his wounds before aid could reach him, Sgt. Matthews, by his indomitable fighting spirit, courageous initiative, and resolute determination in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and was directly instrumental in saving the life of his wounded comrade. His great personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.