News Article: Remains of MIA Coming Home to Texas (Matocha mention)
- News Article
8 Aug 2004
Remains of MIA Coming Home to Texas
Remains of American Soldier Missing Since the Vietnam War Coming Home
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
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
A nephew is scheduled to escort Matocha's remains to Smithville on
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.