METZ, JAMES HARDIN Remains returned March 18, 1977 Name: James Hardin Metz Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: Korat AB TH Date of Birth: 12 June 1931 Home City of Record: Poplar Bluff MO Date of Loss: 15 April 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 173900N 1062400E (XE484518) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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 10/2014. REMARKS: REMS RETD TO PCOM BY SRV 770318 SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It also suffered more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was constantly under revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing capability and ECM pods for the wings. While the D version was a single-place aircraft, the F model carried a second crewman which made it well suited for the role of suppressing North Vietnam's missile defenses. Major James H. Metz was a career Air Force pilot. He joined the Air Force in 1953 and was stationed at various U.S. bases before being assigned to Korat Airbase in Thailand. On April 15, 1968, Maj. Metz was assigned a mission near the city of Quang Khe in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. During the mission, Metz' wingman radioed that Metz' aircraft had been hit by enemy flak and that he should follow the emergency procedure and head for open waters for ejection and rescue. Although Metz did not respond to the radio transmission, he turned his aircraft toward the sea, but was forced to eject before he could reach it. The wingman observed his ejection and saw him land in a clump of trees near a highway in a heavily populated area. Enemy fire forced the wingman to leave, but not before he had plotted the location where Metz had landed. Rescue forces arrived 45 minutes later. Metz' parachute was gone, and there was no sign of activity except for heavy ground fire which prevented further searching. Later, a Hanoi Radio broadcast described the capture of an American pilot in that area. Metz was the only pilot shot down in that area on that day. Three weeks later, intelligence sources reported that Metz had been seen alive on the ground with his captors shortly after the crash. The Defense Department changed Metz' status to Captured. When 591 Americans were released in 1973 Operation Homecoming at the end of American involvement in Southeast Asia, Jim Metz was not among them. Military officials expressed their dismay at the time that hundreds of Americans known or suspected to be prisoners were not released. For years, the Vietnamese denied knowledge of the fate of Jim Metz, even though the U.S. believes he was captured. Then on March 18, 1977, the Vietnamese returned the remains of Jim Metz. He was finally home.
[r1130.97] PROJECT X SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE NAME: METZ, James H. Maj., USAF OFFICIAL STATUS: DEAD, BODY NOT RECOVERED CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Maj. Metz was seen to eject and descend with a good parachute. No radio contact was made with him. The next day radio Hanoi reported a shootdown and capture which positively correlated to Maj. Metz. No correlated reports of death have been received concerning Maj. Metz. REFNO: 1130 20 Apr 76 (U) CASE SUMMARY 1. On 15 April 1968 Maj. James H. Metz was the pilot of the lead F105D, ( #61-0206), in a flight of two on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Maj. Metz' aircraft was observed to be on fire, apparently hit by flak from 37MM and 57MM anti-aircraft artillery fire (AAA). He was advised that his aircraft was on f ire and was told to turn to the right and climb, as the coast was about eight nautical miles away. About 15 seconds later, (1500 hours), Maj. Metz was seen to eject at an altitude of 4,500 feet. A good seat separation and parachute deployment was observed, with a strong parachute beeper heard shortly after the parachute deployed, until about five minutes after the parachute landed in a tree on a hillside; (vicinity of grid coordinates (GC) XE 488 529). The aircraft crashed about 1 1/2 nautical miles from the pilot's landing position. No radio contact was established with Maj. Metz. Several passes were made over a road about 400 feet from the parachute, but no one was seen in the area. The wingman refueled and returned to the area where the parachute was last seen and searched for about 30 minutes, but the parachute was no longer visible. Despite attempts to contact Ma Metz on the guard channel, no communication was established. (Ref 1) 2. On 16 April 1968 "Radio Hanoi" reported the downing of an F105 aircraft over Quang Binh Province at 1530 hours that day, and also reported that the pilot had balled out and was captured. (There is positive correlation of' this report to Maj. Metz). (Ref 2) 3. Maj. Metz never appeared on any of the DRV listing or in the POW chain. 4. During the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area precluded any visits to or ground inspections of the sites 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. Metz is currently carried in the presumptive status of Dead, Body Not Recovered. REFERENCES USED 1. RPT (U), 386th TFW, AF form 484 w/statements, 19 Apr 68. 2. RPT (U), AFMPC/CB, w/enclosures, 15 May 75. * National Alliance of Families Home Page