FOLEY, BRENDAN PATRICK
 

Name: Brendan Patrick Foley
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn
Date of Birth: 27 March 1932
Home City of Record: New York NY
Date of Loss: 24 November 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 184800N 1034000E (UF595790)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C
Refno: 0925

Other Personnel In Incident: Ronald M. Mayercik (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 2017.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: In violation of the neutrality of Laos accorded at Geneva in a 14-
nation conference July 23, 1962, the North Vietnamese and supporting
communist insurgent group, the Pathet Lao, lost no time in building
strategic strongholds of defense in Northern Laos and establishing a steady
flow of manpower and material to their revolutionary forces in South Vietnam
via the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the eastern border of the Laotian panhandle.

As a result, the Royal Lao sought help from the U.S. in stopping both
initiatives. It was strategically important to do so, although every
initiative had to be cleared through the U.S. Ambassador at Vientiane, so
that the delicate balance of "look-the-other-way-neutrality" engaged in by
the nations involved (including China) could be preserved.

U.S. support of non-communist activity in Laos fell into 3 general groups:
1) U.S. Army and CIA bolstering the Meo (Hmong) army led by Gen. Vang Pao;
2) Strategic U.S. Air Force bombing initiatives on the Ho Chi Minh Trail
(Operations Commando Hunt, Steel Tiger, etc.); 3) Air Force bombing
initiatives in northern Laos (Operation Barrel Roll, etc.) against communist
strongholds there, and in support of the Royal Lao and Vang Pao.

Maj. Brendan P. Foley and 1Lt. Ronald M. Mayercik comprised the crew of an
RF4C Phantom jet sent on a photo reconnaissance mission over the Plain of
Jars in Northern Laos on November 24, 1967. Foley was the pilot, and
Mayercik manned the camera and technical equipment for the mission. Their
aircraft, flying alone, was on a routine weather reconnaissance mission. The
aircraft was shot down southwest of the Plain of Jars, and both men were
listed as Missing In Action.

American involvement in Southeast Asia drew to a close as a result of the
Paris Peace Accords signed in 1973 with the Vietnamese. Although the U.S.
had committed millions of dollars to a "secret war" in Laos, it did not
negotiate with Laos to free American POWs held in Laos. As a result, not one
American held in Laos was released at the end of the war or in the years
following.

In 1979, Sean O'Toolis, an Irish-American, was touring Bong Song Camp, 40
miles south of Hanoi, on an IRA gun-buying mission, when he alleges he met
and spoke with American POWs Brendan Foley and Wade Groth, who were prison
workmates. He also claims to have spoken to men named MacDonald, Jenning and
an O'Hare or O'Hara. He brought a message to Foley's brother and
fingerprints of Foley and O'Hara. He identified old photos of Groth, and
gave believable descriptions of Foley and Groth. Neither family knows
whether or not to believe O'Toolis, as much of his account of his travels
seems incorrect.

Foley and Mayercik are two of nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos. The
Pathet Lao, stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of
American prisoners, but Laos was not included in the Paris Peace agreements
ending the war. As a consequence, no American POWs held in Laos were
negotiated for. Not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Men
like Foley and Mayercik were abandoned to the enemy.

Reports continue to be received that Americans are alive today, being held
captive. Whether Foley and Mayercik are among them is not known, but they
certainly do not deserve the abandonment they received at the hands of the
country they so proudly served.

Brendan P. Foley was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Ronald M. Mayercik
to the rank of Captain during the period they were maintained Missing in
Action.



 

 
  12/02/17     Mary "Betty" Foley
"When my mother became active in the POW-MIA issue, we were proud of her," said Kevin, who was 13 months old when the family was notified his father was missing. "But I can tell you that she never let it interfere in family life. She always seemed to put our needs ahead of everything." The mother said ...