METOYER, BRYFORD GLENN Name: Bryford Glenn Metoyer Rank/Branch: O2/US Army Unit: US Army Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company, US Army Support Group, Vietnam Date of Birth: 19 December 1938 Home City of Record: Oakdale LA Date of Loss: 18 January 1964 Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 095652N 1064925E (XR700836) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1B Refno: 0028 Other Personnel In Incident: John L. Straley (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 2014. REMARKS: AC IN SEA - 3 RECVD - NOT SUBJ - J SYNOPSIS: 1Lt. Bryford Metoyer was the pilot and PFC John L. Straley was the co-pilot of a UH1B helicopter flying a tactical operation over South Vietnam. The helicopter made a pass into some enemy positions, then experienced a tail rotor failure and crashed over water. The operation was being conducted along the shoreline of the South China Sea in the Kien Hua Province region. Three of the crew were rescued or recovered, and a search for Metoyer and Straley was conducted for about 10 days with no results. Metoyer and Straley are listed among the missing because their remains were never found to send home to the country they served. For their families, the case seems clear that they died on that day. The fact that they have no body to bury with honor is not of great significance. For other who are missing, however, the evidence leads not to death, but to survival. Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports received relating to Americans still held captive in Indochina have convinced experts that hundreds of men are still alive, waiting for their country to rescue them. The notion that Americans are dying without hope in the hands of a long-ago enemy belies the idea that we left Vietnam with honor. It also signals that tens of thousands of lost lives were a frivolous waste of our best men. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Feb 21, 2014
By Donna E. Elliott, SGT, USAR (Ret)
Sister of SSGT Jerry W. Elliott, MIA 21 Jan 68 Khe Sanh
On 18 January 1964, a UH1B helicopter with call sign Dragon Three Three departed An Hiep airfield on an escort mission for troop deployment onto LZ Aloha near the southernmost tip of Thanh Phu Island, approximately 65 miles southwest of Saigon. At the controls was a Creole from Oakdale, Louisiana, 1LT Bryford Glenn Metoyer, a pilot with the UTT Helo Co, 145th AVN Bn, US ARMY Spt Grp, MACV.
The 26 year-old Metoyer had become a father for the second time, a little girl named Elisha. He longed to see the newborn, hold his wife, Evelyn, and play with his son, Bryford, Jr. Metoyer’s motto was, "Nothing is impossible." He managed to fly back from Vietnam and hitchhiked home to see his family. He and his older brother, Major Herbert R. Metoyer, were among the first U.S Army helicopter pilots. Three weeks earlier, they had crossed paths in an international airport as Bryford returned to Vietnam and Herbert completed his tour, missing each other by only a few hours.
After 300 missions, Metoyer was no stranger to danger. He made a strafing run into Viet Cong positions when suddenly his chopper experienced tail rotor failure, hit the water on the left side, rolled over, and crashed into the South China Sea. Within minutes two nearby rescue helicopters hovered over the crash site. The crews dropped several life vests into the rough water and pulled WO Patrick E. Gray and PFC Johnnie L. Sullivan to safety, but too weak to hold onto a vest, Metoyer was observed to go under three or four times before disappearing completely beneath the three foot waves.
Searchers subsequently recovered the body of Wing Commander Allan H. Lee, a British Royal Air Force passenger on board the aircraft, but Metoyer and the crew chief, PFC John Straley, were still missing. Straley could not swim and strapped in his seat, he had made no attempt to release his seat belt before the crash.
On January 23rd the North Vietnamese newspaper, "People’s Army," published a page one feature on the Battle for Tranh Phu. The article stated the U.S. had deployed a large force to begin the "Phoenix Campaign 1" in the small area of Thanh Phong and Gia Thanh villages and during this battle guerrilla forces shot down one helicopter, killing a British Colonel Air Force Commander of the Far East and two American’s.
Twenty-years later, Bryford, Jr. graduated from West Point, but there was no further information on Case 0028 until October 1992, when the Vietnamese provided the U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency with over 4000 photographs and four original identification cards belonging to missing American servicemen. One of the ID cards was that of PFC John Straley. No further details were provided regarding how the ID card came to be in the possession of the Vietnamese, however, it was turned over to the family.
In March 1993, A joint U.S./VN team interviewed Nguyen Van Phuong, assistant platoon leader of the 10th Plt, 2nd Co, 516th Bn, Ben Tre Province Forces, who claimed to have shot down an American aircraft during the "20-Day Battle" in January 1964 with a submachine gun when it flew over Thanh Phong Village. Phuong said the aircraft burned and crashed in the 5 ½ mile wide mouth of the river towards Tra Vinh Province. Several months later, a villager complained to Phuong that he was upset because the wreckage of the aircraft Phung had shot down had snagged his fishing net.
In 1969 or 1970, the same villager and two of his sons were bottom-fishing on a raft at the depth of 16 feet in the fast-moving river when their net snagged the tail of a helicopter at Bung Dune, My Long Village, Cau Ngang District, Tra Vinh Province. They tried to recover the tail, but it was too heavy.
The Thanh Phu Peninsula borders the ocean to the east, the Ham Luong River to the north, and the Co Chien River to the south. On 22 September 2010, JPAC visited the alleged underwater crash location between My Long Nam and Hiep Thanh villages with the two sons of the fisherman as guides. After a 30-minute boat ride three miles from shore, the team determined the depth of the water at the alleged crash site was approximately 23 feet. The team leader estimated an undercover operation would require a hundred plus laborers. Metoyer and Straley continue to be listed among the missing.