MATHENY, DAVID PAUL

Name: David Paul Matheny
Rank/Branch: O1/US Navy
Unit:
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Bakersfield CA
Date of Loss: 05 October 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 200700N 1055300E (WH940270)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8C
Refno: 0850

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 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 1998.

REMARKS: 680219 RELSD BY DRV

SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
photo reconnaissance.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.

Lt. JG David P. Matheny was the pilot of an F8C sent on a combat mission
over North Vietnam on October 5, 1967. His flight route took him near the
border of Than Hoa and Ninh Binh Provinces, North Vietnam, where his
aircraft was shot down about 10 miles west of the city of Phat Diem. Matheny
was captured by the North Vietnamese.

For the next 4 months, Matheny was held in prisoner of war camps in Hanoi.
He was released on February 19, 1968, some five years before the general
prisoner release in 1973.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Some were sent home to carry the
message to the United States that they were tortured and starved. Not only
that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even
one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home.