MATTIX, SAMUEL ALLEN
Name: Samuel Allen Mattix Rank/Branch: Civilian Unit: Missionary, Christian Missions of Many Lands Date of Birth: ca 1953 (Fairbanks AK) Home City of Record: Centralia WA Date of Loss: 27 October 1972 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 162600N 1061200E (WD215175) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1941
Other Personnel in Incident: Evelyn Anderson; Beatrice Kosin (assassinated); Lloyd Oppel (released POW)
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: 730328 RELSD BY PATHET LAO
SYNOPSIS: In the late hours of Saturday, October 27, 1972, a small group of North Vietnamese soldiers invaded the southern Laotian town of Kengkock, about thirty-five miles from Savannakhet. They took prisoners, including Evelyn Anderson, Beatrice Kosin, Lloyd Oppel and Samuel Mattix, all missionaries working for Christian Missions of Many Lands. Several other Americans managed to escape and radioed for help.
At 9:04 on Sunday morning following the capture, an American helicopter arrived and evacuated nine Filipinos, five Lao and the Americans who had radioed for help. Less than an hour later, Sgt. Gerry Wilson returned by helicopter to try and locate the two American women. Lt.Colonel Norman Vaught immediately set rescue plans into motion.
The American Embassy in Vientiane heard of the rescue plan and ordered from the highest level that no attempt be made to rescue the women. The peace negotiations were ongoing and it was feared that a rescue attempt would compromise the sustained level of progress at the talks.
On November 2, 1972, a radio message was intercepted which ordered that the two women be executed. A captured North Vietnamese soldier later told U.S. military intelligence that the women were captured, tied back to back and their wrists wired around a house pillar. The women remained in this position for five days. After receiving orders to execute the two, the Communists simply set fire to the house where they were being held and burned the women alive. A later search of the smoldering ruins revealed the corpse of Miss Anderson. Her wrist was severed, indicating the struggle she made to free herself.
Oppel and Mattix, the men who were captured with Anderson and Kosin, were held captive and released in 1973. It is speculated that the women would have been too much trouble to care for on the long trip to Hanoi, and were killed instead. They were held in Hanoi from December 6, 1972 until January 16, 1973 at which time they were removed to a small country prison and interrogated for three weeks. They were then moved back to Hanoi and released on March 28. Contrary to some statements, the two were not released by the Pathet Lao, but by the Vietnamese.
Anderson and Kosin were not in Laos to kill, but to help. Their deaths must be blamed not only on the Communists who set the fire that killed them, but also on the faceless, nameless Americans who decided they were expendable.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
SAMUEL ALLEN MATTIX Civilian - Christian Missionary and Medic Captured: October 28, 1972 Released: March 28, 1973
Twenty-year-old Samuel Allen Mattix was born in Fairbanks, Alaska; his home is now in Centralia, Washington. In 1970 he graduated from Centralia High School. From there he went to London, England, graduating in 1972 from the Missionary School of Medicine.
"I went to Laos from London in July 1972. From July to October I studied the Lao language intensively in preparation for spiritual and medical service to the Lao people. On October 28, 1972 Lloyd D. Oppel, my co-worker (a Canadian) and myself were captured in Kengkok, Laos, near our home, when North Vietnamese Regular Army troops overran the region in a sudden and unopposed thrust. We marched from there to Hanoi, riding in trucks part of the way.
While in Laos our guards usually knew quite a lot of the Lao language. We were able to win their friendship and receive better treatment through this means of communication. We sang and told about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus when we had contact with Lao villagers, seeking to show them the way to eternal life. Our soldier-guards largely overcame their suspicion of us and seemed to accept the fact that we were Christian missionaries, non-combatants and non-military, as they saw our consistent manner of life.
Lloyd Oppel and I found that when we had lost all in a material sense and our personal security was no longer subject to our control, that the care of God became especially apparent. Our lives were repeatedly threatened by hostile soldiers and civilians and by disease. At such times we fully realized our own helplessness. Instead of driving us to despair, we were able to rest in God, knowing that God would deliver us; but if it was His will for us to die, we could know that we would go to be with Him, which is far better. At times when the situation we were in troubled us most, as when people were menacing us with sticks, stones, scythes and fists, we found that we were never injured from blows, even though the guards were not protecting us adequately.
We stayed at the Hanoi Hilton from December 6, 1972 to January 16, 1973. Then we spent three weeks in a small unidentified prison in the country, during which time we were separated and in solitary. We were interrogated during this period.
On February 4, I learned that the Paris Treaty had been signed. On February 6 Lloyd and I moved back into the Hilton until our release on March 28, 1973.