Neal Matthews

Neal Matthews is a former Navy diver and parachute rigger who studied photojournalism and filmmaking at San Diego State University, then worked for ten years at the Reader. He moved on to be a contributing editor for New West/California Magazine, Boating, Travel Holiday, and Popular Photography. He has also written for the New York Times.

Matthews has worked on stories and shot photographs in about 20 countries plus Antarctica, and has won many journalism awards. He is married and currently lives and writes in San Diego, California, where he continues practicing underwater photography, a passion he developed in the Navy. His website is

He has several Reader eBooks available through bookstores:

A Few Rounds with the Mongoose

A 1985 Road Trip with Boxing Champ Archie Moore

by Neal Matthews

I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam

Map Points and Secret Moves of the Contra War

by Neal Matthews

To Save a Symbol

The California Condor Controversy Endures

by Neal Matthews

Wing Men

Who Was Behind the Navy Tomcats?

by Neal Matthews

Latest Articles

When Duke Was King

In the air over Vietnam.

Randy Cunningham taxied the F-4 Phantom onto the catapult aboard the USS Constellation, and both he and Bill Driscoll, the radar intercept officer in the back seat, turned to look at the spinning fingers of ...

Notes from Underground

An incendiary history of San Diego's counterculture press.

It's time we said it loud and clear: San Diego is the armpit of the world. This town is middle class, stupid, mediocre, and boring. It is plastic, sterile, unhip, and sexually repressed; it is ...

Offally Healthy

If San Diego is eventually forced to build a multi-billion-dollar secondary sewage treatment system, the legal mandate for such an undertaking will be found in Federal Judge Paudi Brewster’s ruling on March 28. After an ...

Unnatural Erosion

It looks like a big vacant lot along the cliffs on the western slope of Point Loma, just below Point Loma Nazarene College, between Ladera Street and the fence marking the U.S. Navy property. There’s ...

Jorge Hank Finally Talks

Last Wednesday, May 2, was a day of reckoning foretold by many Tijuanans. They may not have been able to peg the exact date it would happen, but they knew it was coming: Antonio Vera ...

I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam

Map points and secret moves of the contra war

The DC-3 airplane, heavily guarded by uniformed Panamanian soldiers, sat on the far side of the jungle clearing at Penonome, 60 miles southwest of Panama City. Its cargo doors were wide open and chocked tight ...

The End of the Pipe

What the city’s sewage is not doing to the Pt. Loma kelp beds.

A first-hand look at marine life near the sewage outfall at Point Loma.

Wing Men

When you take care of a Navy F-14, you own it.

The dawn’s light is just beginning to angle through the mist to strike the cloud-colored F-14 fighter jet parked in a row in front of hangar three. The flight line at Miramar consists of 7 ...

The F-14: A Bad Bird?

The F-14 Tomcat prototype crashed on its maiden flight December 21, 1970, and ever since then questions about safety have dogged the Navy’s frontline fighter/interceptor. Five F-14s, four of them based at Miramar, crashed in ...

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