Roderick Lewis Mayer

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
02 March 1939 - 31 October 1977
Lewiston, ID
Panel 02E Line 125



Rod Mayer

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Roderick Lewis Mayer


I never had a chance to see your face,
Look into your eyes, or touch your hand.
No chance to live out your dreams
Before they sent you to a foreign land.
How do I thank someone I never knew
To lay down your life, no questions asked.
Fighting for freedom in a strange place
In the face of death you kept on task.

Close your eyes, brave pilot, and rest -
your duty is over, you fought well.
I will always keep you in my heart
Your sacrifice I now know so well,
The sound of taps floating through the air.
A sound so familiar to family and friends
To say goodbye the pain they endure
Your name whispering in the wind.

I will never have a chance to see your face,
Look into your eyes or touch your hand.
No chance to see your dreams come true.
Lost forever in that foreign land,
To die in vain you have not,
Your soul in heaven forever more
To thank you for your sacrifice
To welcome you home from a war.


On 17 October 1965, then LT Roderick Mayer, pilot, and LTJG David R. Wheat, RIO, launched from USS Independence in an F-4B. They were participating in a day strike mission against the Thai Nguyen bridge located approximately 38 miles north of Hanoi.

At 1150 hours, their aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft artillery fire as they made a pass on the bridge. Although the crew made an effort to get "feet wet", the aircraft crashed near the town of Quang Lang, approximately 54 miles north of Haiphong and 65 miles northeast of Hanoi.

The apparently successful ejections of both crewmen were witnessed by other aircrew and SAR efforts were immediately initiated. The SAR forces were hampered by enemy small arms fire and were unable to get close enough to determine the status of either crewman, although one crewman was observed over a period of two hours in a prone position, still in his parachute. Both Mayer and Wheat had disappeared from sight and enemy troops were seen in the area before rescue helicopters could reach the scene, and the SAR operation was terminated.

Initially, both Mayer and Wheat were listed as presumed dead, but their status was changed to "Prisoner of War" when it was learned that Wheat, at least, had been captured alive.

David Wheat returned to US control on 12 February 1973 during Operation Homecoming. In his debriefing he reported he believed Mayer was injured during ejection; although he did not know the extent of LT Mayer's injuries, he said that Mayer did not move, even when he was found by ground troops.

A presumptive finding of death was made on 31 October 1977. Although the North Vietnamese must, in 1965, have had LCDR Mayer in hand - alive or dead - he has not been repatriated.

A memorial from one who wore his MIA bracelet,
Stefanie L Waters 
30 Aug 2001

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index M
ID State Index . Panel 02E

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)