MATEJA, ALAN PAUL Name: Alan Paul Mateja Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 29 July 1945 Home City of Record: Louisville KY Date of Loss: 16 April 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205500N 1064700E (XJ854137) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105G Refno: 1828 Other Personnel in Incident: Orvin C. Jones, Jr. (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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: SYNOPSIS: By February 1972, the North Vietnamese had positioned thirteen divisions for a spring offensive into the south. Timing this to coincide with the monsoon season severely restricted U.S. air power due to weather conditions. Friendly ground forces met for the first time with a North Vietnamese force equipped with many first-line Soviet weapons, including a number of new tanks, heavy artillery pieces, anti-aircraft missiles, and anti-tank missiles. As allied forces fell back, air power was called on to turn the tide. The U.S. Air Force response to the invasion was immediate as B52 Arc Light missions and TACAIR attacks intensified during brief respites in the weather. Since the intensity of ground combat was high, it became clear that an aggressive air-interdiction program would have a decisive impact in preventing resupply and rearmament of the communist troops. The invasion was checked, but the lessons were learned and interdiction programs were instituted. The effort lead to Operation Freedom Train against targets south of the 20th Parallel, and later to Freedom Porch Bravo against targets in the Hanoi/Haiphong area. The first wave of Freedom Porch Bravo strikes began in the predawn hours of April 16, 1972 and achieved respectable success over the highest threat areas within North Vietnam. Fifteen Navy A6As struck SAM sites in the Haiphong area and 20 Air Force F4s laid a chaff corridor to screen the B52s' entry into the threat zones. With Air Force and Navy providing MIGCAP, SAM suppression, and ECM support, 17 B52s attacked the Haiphong Petroleum Products Storage area. The second and third waves, composed of TACAIR assets, followed up with attacks on ten other targets in the Hanoi/Haiphong areas. Enemy reaction to the strike penetrations were formidable, but largely ineffective. Even though more than 250 SAMs were launched and heavy anti-artillery fire was reported, only two TACAIR losses occurred. Two Air Force personnel were missing as a result. The F105G, flown by Capt. Alan P. Mateja, crashed in the Haiphong Harbor area. The weapons/systems officer on the aircraft was Capt. Orvin C. Jones, Jr. The Air Force believed there was a possibility that both crewmen escaped the crippled aircraft, and they were declared Missing in Action. When the war ended, and 591 Americans were released from prisons in Hanoi, Mateja and Jones were not among them. Military officials were dismayed that hundreds of known or suspected prisoners had not been released. It is unlikely that the Mateja and Jones aircraft would have escaped the attention of the many North Vietnamese soldiers defending the Haiphong Harbor. There is every reason to believe that the Vietnamese could tell us what happened to Mateja and Jones on April 16, 1972. Alive or dead, they are Prisoners of War. Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Mateja and Jones could still be alive. It's time we brought our men home.