Alan Paul MatejaMajor
17TH TFS (WW), 388TH TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
29 July 1945 - 01 February 1980
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The database page for Alan Paul Mateja
I was so sorry to learn that Major Mateja has never been found. I've had and worn his MIA bracelet for almost 30 years wondering what happened to him. I've tried to find information many a time and while I was searching for Memorial Day information 2 days ago I found information on him in several places.
It is such a helpless feeling to have a connection to someone I've never met, but hoped he was alive and that someday I could return the bracelet to him. My only hope now is to find a family member that I can return his MIA bracelet to so I can put the memory to rest once and for all.
For those of you who served, such as my father, and returned to tell, God Bless you. For those of you who died serving our country, especially those who have never been found, may you rest in peace. I know this Memorial Day I will have a greater sense of loss since I have found out Major Alan Mateja will never come home.
Mary Ann Marcello
I was 15 years old when Alan Mateja went missing. I remember mailing in my dollar and the day I received my POW-MIA bracelet. I had read in a local paper that he was sighted twice by other prisoners and was alive. I have no idea if that was true. When the POWs were released I sat transfixed before the television set, watching as each man came off the plane. I listened for his name and after each planeload, was disappointed. I remember some of those men kneeling on the ground to kiss American soil as they got off. After many planes and such a large number of men, the last POW got off. I couldn't believe my ears!!! It wasn't Alan. It was my first loss and I grieved as though he were my own family. I saw a picture of his wife once. She was so young and pretty. Too young to go through such a terrible loss. I wore that bracelet for 10 more years. I just couldn't give up hope. Now I am 50 and I still remember the sacrifice Alan gave. I get his bracelet out of my jewelry box each March and I wear it until the end of April each year. I intend to continue to do so, even though I have had people question me about that. I look at it as an honor to his memory. Seeing Alan's bracelet reminds me to pray for his family and his children. May he rest in peace and may his bravery and sacrifice always be remembered with thankfulness by his countrymen.
I too wore Alan Mateja's POW bracelet from the age of twelve. Now my daughter is bringing it to class to discuss Vietnam and its impact on US history. It's nice to know that people like Alan Mateja are still remembered. God Bless America.
Notes from The Virtual WallDuring the North Vietnamese spring offensive in 1972, Allied air power was called on to turn the tide. The U.S. Air Force response to the invasion was immediate as B-52 Arc Light missions and tactical air attacks intensified during brief respites in the weather. The invasion was checked, but the lessons learned led to Operation Freedom Train against targets south of the 20th Parallel, and later to Freedom Porch Bravo against targets in the Hanoi/Haiphong area.
The first wave of Freedom Porch Bravo strikes began on April 16,1972, and achieved respectable success over the highest threat areas within North Vietnam. The first wave consisted of B-52 strikes supported by Navy and Air Force tactical air.
The second and third waves, composed of TACAIR assets, followed up with attacks on ten other targets in the Hanoi/Haiphong areas. Enemy reactions to the strike penetrations were formidable, but largely ineffective. Even though more than 250 SAMs were launched and heavy anti-aircraft artillery fire was reported, only two TACAIR losses occurred. Two Air Force personnel were missing as a result.
Captain Alan P. Mateja (pilot) and Captain Orvin C. Jones (WSO) were lost when their F-105G crashed in the Haiphong Harbor area. Although immediate SAR efforts were fruitless, there was a possibility that one or both crewmen escaped the crippled aircraft and they were declared Missing in Action.
When the American POWs were released in 1973, Mateja and Jones were not among them. They still are unaccounted for.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 May 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009