Name: Oscar Mauterer
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 24 August 1925
Home City of Record: [NOTE: The USG originally showed home of record as
Charlottesville VA - then corrected to Gilette NJ. After family
contact and paperwork, Home of Record was found to be UNION NJ.
Date of Loss: 15 February 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 172800N 1054300E (WE710260
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action [In December of 1977, the status was
officially changed to KIA - many paper records still list him as MIA
Other Personnel in Incident: none missing
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 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.
REMARKS: EJECTED - POSS CAPT
SYNOPSIS: When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in
South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for
sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some
years before. The border road, termed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" was used for
transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hundreds of American pilots were
shot down trying to stop this communist traffic to South Vietnam.
Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam were extremely successful
and the recovery rate was high.
Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many of them went down
along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains
between Laos and Vietnam.
One of the aircraft which operated along the Trail was the Douglas A1
Skyraider. The "Spad" is a highly maneuverable, propeller driven aircraft
designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The E model
generally carried two crewmen. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in its
Tactical Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in
counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used in a variety
of roles, ranging from multi-seat electronic intelligence gathering to Navy
antisubmarine warfare and rescue missions. The venerable fighter aircraft
was retired in the spring of 1968 and had flown in more than twenty model
variations, probably more than any other U.S. combat aircraft.
Major Oscar Mauterer was an A1E pilot assigned a mission in Laos. During the
mission, as he was about 5 miles south of Na Phao in the Mu Gia Pass area of
Khammouane Province, Mauterer's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and he was
forced to eject.
Mauterer apparently ejected safely, and there is reason to believe he was
captured by the enemy. Whether that enemy was the North Vietnamese who
regularly streamed down the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or their Lao communist
allies, the Pathet Lao, is a matter for speculation, but some reports point
to capture by the Lao.
A September 13, 1968 statement by Soth Pethrasi was monitored from Puerto
Rico in which Mauterer's name was mentioned. The report stated that "Smith,
Christiano, Jeffords, and Mauterer" were part of "several dozen captured
Airmen" whom the Pathet Lao were "treating correctly and who were still in
Laos. Another name, Norman Morgan, captured January 9, 1968, was mentioned
but is not on lists of missing. This is believed to correlate to Norman
Green, lost on January 9, 1968 in Laos.
Mauterer was never classified Prisoner of War. Few lost in Laos ever were.
Like Mauterer, many were alive on the ground and in radio contact with
search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been captured.
Hanoi's communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke of American
prisoners they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated, Laos was not
included, and not a single American was released that had been held in Laos.
Were it not for the thousands of reports concerning Americans still held
captive in Southeast Asia, the Mauterer family might be able to close this
tragic chapter of their lives. But as long as Americans are alive, being
held captive, one of them could be Oscar Mauterer. It's time we brought
these men home.
During the period he was maintained missing, Oscar Mauterer was promoted to
the rank of Colonel.
According to USAF pilot Major Tom Dwelle, at the time, the A1E had no
ejection seats. In order to "bail out" the pilots would have had to climb out
and over the side of the aircraft. Therefore, the USG
"remarks" of "ejected" is inaccurate.
SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAME: MAUTERER Oscar (NMN), Major, USAF
OFFICIAL STATUS: MISSING
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Major Mauterer made a successful ejection from
his aircraft and made a good landing. Two sources reported his possible capture
by North Vietnamese security forces. There are no correlated reports of his
death since the incident.
REFNO: 0253 14 April 1976 CASE SUMMARY
1. (U) On 15 February 1966, Major Oscar (NMN) Mauterer was a pilot of an
AIE aircraft (# 52-133885) as wingman in a flight of two which was
providing cover for two O1E Forward Air Controller (FAC) aircraft over
Laos. The flight had completed three attack runs on the target and were
about to depart the area when Maj Mauterer radioed that he was on 'Fire and
was going to bail out. The flight leader observed a good parachute and
circled until it reached the ground in the vicinity of -rid coordinates WE
761 257. When the flight 'leader made a low pass to look for Maj Mauterer
on the around the FAC observed ground fire from around the downed pilot.
Multiple air strikes were conducted in the area to suppress the hostile
fire. Rescue helicopters arrived on the scene one hour later, but were
unable to attempt a rescue because of enemy fire. Beeper signals were heard
at an unspecified time on the emergency radio frequency, however, it could
not be determined if these signals were coming from Maj Mauterer or another
source. The search and rescue effort was suspended at 1640 hours on 18
February 1966. (Ref 1)
2. (U) A friendly guerrilla team reported on or about 20 February 1966 that
the pilot (whose aircraft had crashed at grid coordinates (GC) WE 710 260)
was captured by the Vietnamese (NFI). (Ref 2)
3. (C) A source reported that the American pilot of an A1-E aircraft was
shot down in the vicinity of Ban Soy (WE 742 247, in Laos), in in March
1966. The pilot was captured and sent on foot to North Vietnam. (Source's
information possibly related to the incident involving Maj Mauterer) (Ref
4. (U) During- the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area
precluded any visits to or ground inspections of the site involved in this
case. This individual's name and identifying data were turned over to the
Four-Party Joint Military Team with a request for any information
available. No response was forthcoming. Maj Mauterer is currently carried
in the status of Missing.
1. RPT (U), 6253d CSG, AF Form 484, w/attachments Undated.
2. MSG (U), 2 Air Div Tan Son Nhut AB RVN, 18163OZ Mar 66. 3. RPT (C),
DIR-4H (Eval-TDCS-314/08475-66), 27 May 75.
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