Rep. Joe Heck recognizes World War II veteran Jack Mates
October 10, 2013
I come to the floor today to recognize and wish a happy 90th birthday to World War II veteran and Las Vegas Distinguished Flying Cross chapter chairman Jack Mates.
Mr. Mates served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and was a B17 squadron leader based out of Italy.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight against the enemy in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during World War II. According to his award citation, Lieutenant Mates "consistently displayed outstanding courage, aggressiveness and intense devotion to duty throughout all engagements. With his aircraft frequently severely damaged by heavy enemy fire, Lieutenant Mates courageously remained at his station, battling his way through to his targets to aid materially in the utter destruction of vitally important enemy installations and supplies."
After his honorable discharge, Jack Mates worked closely with his father learning the marketing business and in 1959 was part of the group responsible for the introduction of Velcro to consumers across the U.S. He later became president and chief executive officer of Velcro USA in 1980, upholding his central role while helping expand the brand up until his retirement in 1986.
Mr. Mates helped found the Distinguished Flying Cross Society in 1996 in order to preserve the history and tradition of military aerial heroism. Since that time he has been an active participant in DFC Society activities and served as Las Vegas chapter chairman.
According to friends and family, Jack Mates truly lived the American Dream and embodies the reasons we refer to his generation as our Greatest.
It is with great pleasure that I join Lieutenant Jack Mates' family and friends in wishing him a very happy 90th birthday and yield back the balance of my time.