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News Article: Remains of MIA Coming Home to Texas (Matocha mention)

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  • rebellous_99
    News Article 8 Aug 2004 Remains of MIA Coming Home to Texas Remains of American Soldier Missing Since the Vietnam War Coming Home to Texas The Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2004
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      News Article
      8 Aug 2004

      Remains of MIA Coming Home to Texas

      Remains of American Soldier Missing Since the Vietnam War Coming Home
      to Texas

      The Associated Press

      SMITHVILLE, Texas Aug. 8, 2004 — The remains of an American soldier
      who had been missing since the Vietnam War are coming home after
      being located with help from a former enemy.
      Marine 2nd Lt. Donald John Matocha of Smithville was killed in a
      firefight in April 1968 on Dong Ma mountain in what was then the
      Republic of South Vietnam, but his body was not recovered.

      The Defense Department had essentially given up trying to locate his
      remains by 1993, said Hattie Johnson, a case officer with the Marine
      Corps casualty office in Washington.

      "They had exhausted all means of looking," Johnson told the Austin
      American-Statesman.

      Then in 1996, Nguyen Van Loc, a 58-year-old farmer who had been a
      squad leader of the 320th Division of the People's Army of Vietnam,
      appeared at the Army's POW/MIA office in Hanoi. He said he'd found a
      dead American on Dong Ma mountain in the spring of 1968 and helped
      bury him in a bomb crater.

      Matocha's grave was found in March, and dental records established
      positive identification.

      A nephew is scheduled to escort Matocha's remains to Smithville on
      Sept. 16.

      Loretta Eiben, one of Matocha's eight younger siblings, said her
      family will always appreciate Nguyen Van Loc's help.

      "We owe a debt of gratitude to him and his willingness to make a
      repeat visit to the site," she said.
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