Oscar Mauterer was born on August 24, 1925 and joined the Armed Forces while in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He served in the United States Air Force, 602nd TFS, and attained the rank of Colonel.
Oscar Mauterer is listed as Missing in Action.
There is a “In Memory Of” stone in his name in Arlington National Cemetery.
Name: Oscar Mauterer
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 24 August 1925
Home City of Record: [NOTE: The USG originally showed home of record as
Charlottesville VA – then corrected to Gilette NJ. After family contact and paperwork, Home of Record was found to be UNION NJ.
Date of Loss: 15 February 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action [In December of 1977, the status was
officially changed to KIA – many paper records still list him as MIA
Other Personnel in Incident: none missing
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 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.
REMARKS: EJECTED – POSSIBLY CAPTURED
When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. The border road, termed the “Ho Chi Minh Trail” was used for transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hundreds of American pilots were shot down trying to stop this communist traffic to South Vietnam.
Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam were extremely successful
and the recovery rate was high.
Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many of them went down along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains between Laos and Vietnam.
One of the aircraft which operated along the Trail was the Douglas A1 Skyraider. The “Spad” is a highly maneuverable, propeller driven aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The E model generally carried two crewmen. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in its Tactical Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used in a variety of roles, ranging from multi-seat electronic intelligence gathering to Navy antisubmarine warfare and rescue missions. The venerable fighter aircraft was retired in the spring of 1968 and had flown in more than twenty model variations, probably more than any other U.S. combat aircraft.
Major Oscar Mauterer was an A1E pilot assigned a mission in Laos. During the mission, as he was about 5 miles south of Na Phao in the Mu Gia Pass area of Khammouane Province, Mauterer's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and he was
forced to eject.
Mauterer apparently ejected safely, and there is reason to believe he was captured by the enemy. Whether that enemy was the North Vietnamese who regularly streamed down the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or their Lao communist allies, the Pathet Lao, is a matter for speculation, but some reports point to capture by the Lao.
A September 13, 1968 statement by Soth Pethrasi was monitored from Puerto Rico in which Mauterer's name was mentioned. The report stated that “Smith, Christiano, Jeffords, and Mauterer” were part of “several dozen captured
Airmen” whom the Pathet Lao were “treating correctly and who were still in Laos. Another name, Norman Morgan, captured January 9, 1968, was mentioned but is not on lists of missing. This is believed to correlate to Norman Green, lost on January 9, 1968 in Laos.
Mauterer was never classified Prisoner of War. Few lost in Laos ever were. Like Mauterer, many were alive on the ground and in radio contact with search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been captured. Hanoi's communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke of American prisoners they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated, Laos was not included, and not a single American was released that had been held in Laos.
Were it not for the thousands of reports concerning Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia, the Mauterer family might be able to close this tragic chapter of their lives. But as long as Americans are alive, being held captive, one of them could be Oscar Mauterer. It's time we brought these men home.
During the period he was maintained missing, Oscar Mauterer was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAME: MAUTERER Oscar (NMN), Major, USAF
OFFICIAL STATUS: MISSING
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Major Mauterer made a successful ejection from his aircraft and made a good landing. Two sources reported his possible capture by North Vietnamese security forces. There are no correlated reports of his death since the incident.
REFNO: 0253 14 April 1976 CASE SUMMARY
1. (U) On 15 February 1966, Major Oscar (NMN) Mauterer was a pilot of an AIE aircraft (# 52-133885) as wingman in a flight of two which was providing cover for two O1E Forward Air Controller (FAC) aircraft over Laos. The flight had completed three attack runs on the target and were about to depart the area when Maj Mauterer radioed that he was on ‘Lire and was going to bail out. The flight leader observed a good parachute and circled until it reached the ground in the vicinity of -rid coordinates WE 761 257. When the flight ‘leader made a low pass to look for Maj Mauterer on the around the FAC observed ground fire from around the downed pilot.
Multiple air strikes were conducted in the area to suppress the hostile fire. Rescue helicopters arrived on the scene one hour later, but were unable to attempt a rescue because of enemy fire. Beeper signals were heard at an unspecified time on the emergency radio frequency, however, it could not be determined if these signals were coming from Maj Mauterer or another source. The search and rescue effort was suspended at 1640 hours on 18 February 1966. (Ref 1)
2. (U) A friendly guerrilla team reported on or about 20 February 1966 that the pilot (whose aircraft had crashed at grid coordinates (GC) WE 710 260) was captured by the Vietnamese (NFI). (Ref 2)
3. (C) A source reported that the American pilot of an A1-E aircraft was shot down in the vicinity of Ban Soy (WE 742 247, in Laos), in in March 1966. The pilot was captured and sent on foot to North Vietnam. (Source's information possibly related to the incident involving Maj Mauterer) (Ref 3)
4. (U) During- the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area precluded any visits to or ground inspections of the site involved in this case. This individual's name and identifying data were turned over to the Four-Party Joint Military Team with a request for any information available. No response was forthcoming. Maj Mauterer is currently carried in the status of Missing.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard