MEYERS, ROGER ALLEN
Name: Roger Allen Meyers
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 164, USS HANCOCK (CVA 19)
Date of Birth: 10 December 1933 (Eau Claire WI)
Home City of Record: Chicago IL
Date of Loss: 09 February 1969
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 173900N 1074430E
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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.
SYNOPSIS: The USS HANCOCK first saw action in Vietnam when aircraft from her
decks flew strikes against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor in late 1944. The
Essex class carrier, extensively modernized, returned to Vietnam during the
early years of the Vietnam war. The attack carriers USS CORAL SEA, USS
HANCOCK and USS RANGER formed Task Force 77, the carrier striking force of
the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific. The HANCOCK was the smallest
type of flattop to operate in the Vietnam theater, but pilots from her
fighter and attack squadrons distinguished themselves throughout the
duration of the war. On June 12, 1966, Commander Hal Marr, the CO of VF-211
gained the first F8 Russian MiG kill.
One of the aircraft launched from the decks of the HANCOCK was the Douglas
Aircraft A4 Skyhawk. When the Skyhawk was built, the intent was to provide
the Navy and Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack and ground
support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and stability
during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for catapult launch
and carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did not need folding
wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its diminutive size,
the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where speed and
maneuverability were essential.
LTCDR Roger A. Meyers was an A4 pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 164
onboard the USS HANCOCK. On the night of February 9, 1969, he was preparing
to launch on an attack strike mission into North Vietnam in his A4E Skyhawk.
The aircraft was positioned on the catapult system and launched off the
ship. Immediately after the launch, the aircraft had some undetermined
difficulty and crashed into the sea. Search and rescue helicopters and boats
were on the scene within minutes, but were unable to find the pilot of
wreckage of the aircraft.
LTCDR Meyers was listed in a casualty status of Killed/Body Not Recovered.
It is not believed that his body will ever be found. At the time of loss,
the HANCOCK was stationed some 125 miles from North Vietnam, east of the
city of Thanh Hoa.
For Roger A. Meyers, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others,
however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of nearly
10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the
certain knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war
were not released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be
prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers
when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents,
only to disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of
those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in
the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men
unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still
alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of
us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to
bring these men home from Southeast Asia?