James Hardin Metz

United States Air Force
12 June 1931 - 15 April 1968
Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Panel 50E Line 006



POW Medal

USAF Pilot

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

The database page for James Hardin Metz

10 Feb 2001

Jim was listed as having died in captivity, probably in the Hanoi Hilton. He was assigned to the 85th FIS (ADC) at Scott AFB in 1957-1959. If anyone can give me his career after that time I would be very interested to know about my former squadron mate.

Keith Erlewine

23 Jul 2005

While cleaning out my closet today I found an old box of jewelry. Inside was the POW/MIA bracelet I bought way back in the 60s. It was for James Metz... It said Lt.Col. James Metz, MIA 4-15-68. I appreciate that this memorial is here, so I know the history of what happened with him. Thank you.

From an MIA Bracelet owner.
E-mail address is not available.

25 Nov 2006

I knew the Metz family when my father was stationed at Stewart Air Force Base in 1965. I was only five, but I remember him as a nice person. I was good friends with his son James! I too wore his POW bracelet. James senior helped me when I fell down a hill in his back yard and was cut. Funny how we remember such things. My father retired from the Air Force, but I still have fond memories of many of his friends, such as Jim Metz.

From a friend,
E-mail address is not available.

05 Mar 2007

In going through my dresser drawers I found the MIA bracelet I had worn for Lt Col James Metz 4-15-68. I often wondered if he was ever found. Thank you for creating this memorial. It eases my mind to know his family hade closure and peace.

Karen Roach
A Navy wife
St. Inigoes, MD
E-mail address is not available.

25 Jun 2007

I found Col. Metz' POW/MIA bracelet at an estate sale this weekend and bought it as a reminder of my childhood and to honor his memory. I grew up on an Air Force base and we all had bracelets.

Service to country is an important family ideal: I lost a great uncle in World War II, my father served in Korea and my boyfriend also served in Vietnam. My son is hoping to attend West Point on his way to serving as an army doctor. I am so proud to know of Col. Metz and his service to our country.

Kathy Parminter
Whittier Ca 90603

10 Aug 2007

I still wear his bracelet to this day. My daughter got online and did the research for me. I am just glad to finally know what happened to him.

Debbie Roach

Notes from The Virtual Wall

A career Air Force pilot, Major James H. Metz joined the Air Force in 1953 and was stationed at various bases before being assigned to Korat Airbase in Thailand, flying the F-105 Thunderchief.

On 15 April 1968, Major Metz was part of a flight attacking a target near Van Loc in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. While over the target Metz' aircraft (F-105D #61-0206) was hit by antiaircraft fire. As he turned toward the coast in order to get over open water the aircraft began to burn, forcing him to eject while still over North Vietnam. His wingmen observed the ejection and saw Metz land in a clump of trees near a road.

Although enemy fire and fuel considerations forced the wingmen to leave, they had plotted Metz' location and initiated search-and rescue. By the time SAR forces arrived some 45 minutes later Metz' parachute was gone and there was no sign of activity except for heavy ground fire which prevented further searches.

A Hanoi Radio broadcast describing the capture of an American pilot on 15 April was presumed to refer to Major Metz, since he was the only American downed over North Vietnam that day. Three weeks later, an intelligence report was received claiming Metz had been seen alive on the ground with his captors shortly after the crash. The Defense Department then changed Metz' status to Captured.

However, Major Metz was not among the 573 POWs released in Feb/Mar 1973 and none of the repatriated prisoners had knowledge of him, leading to the assumption that he was killed very shortly after being captured. Although the Vietnamese government denied knowledge of how Major Metz died, they did return his remains on 18 March 1977.

As it happens, one of Metz' squadronmates from the 85th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Major Charles E. Rogers , had been killed in action over Laos almost a year before (04 May 1967).

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 10 Feb 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009