Name: Ronald Michael Mayercik
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn
Date of Birth: 23 September 1943
Home City of Record: Edison NJ
Date of Loss: 24 November 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 184800N 1034000E (UF595790)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident:
Brendan P. Foley (missing)
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.
In violation of the neutrality of Laos accorded at Geneva in a 14- nation conference July 23, 1962, the North Vietnamese and supporting communist insurgent group, the Pathet Lao, lost no time in building strategic strongholds of defense in Northern Laos and establishing a steady flow of manpower and material to their revolutionary forces in South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the eastern border of the Laotian panhandle.
As a result, the Royal Lao sought help from the U.S. in stopping both initiatives. It was strategically important to do so, although every initiative had to be cleared through the U.S. Ambassador at Vientiane, so that the delicate balance of "look-the-other-way-neutrality" engaged in by the nations involved (including China) could be preserved.
U.S. support of non-communist activity in Laos fell into 3 general groups: 1) U.S. Army and CIA bolstering the Meo (Hmong) army led by Gen. Vang Pao; 2) Strategic U.S. Air Force bombing initiatives on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Operations Commando Hunt, Steel Tiger, etc.); 3) Air Force bombing initiatives in northern Laos (Operation Barrel Roll, etc.) against communist strongholds there, and in support of the Royal Lao and Vang Pao.
Maj. Brendan P. Foley and 1Lt. Ronald M. Mayercik comprised the crew of an RF4C Phantom jet sent on a photo reconnaissance mission over the Plain of Jars in Northern Laos on November 24, 1967. Foley was the pilot, and Mayercik manned the camera and technical equipment for the mission. Their aircraft, flying alone, was on a routine weather reconnaissance mission. The aircraft was shot down southwest of the Plain of Jars, and both men were listed as Missing In Action.
American involvement in Southeast Asia drew to a close as a result of the Paris Peace Accords signed in 1973 with the Vietnamese. Although the U.S. had committed millions of dollars to a "secret war" in Laos, it did not negotiate with Laos to free American POWs held in Laos. As a result, not one American held in Laos was released at the end of the war or in the years following.
In 1979, Sean O'Toolis, an Irish-American, was touring Bong Song Camp, 40 miles south of Hanoi, on an IRA gun-buying mission, when he alleges he met and spoke with American POWs Brendan Foley and Wade Groth, who were prison workmates. He also claims to have spoken to men named MacDonald, Jenning and an O'Hare or O'Hara. He brought a message to Foley's brother and fingerprints of Foley and O'Hara. He identified old photos of Groth, and gave believable descriptions of Foley and Groth. Neither family knows whether or not to believe O'Toolis, as much of his account of his travels seems incorrect.
Foley and Mayercik are two of nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos. The Pathet Lao, stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, but Laos was not included in the Paris Peace agreements ending the war. As a consequence, no American POWs held in Laos were negotiated for. Not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Men like Foley and Mayercik were abandoned to the enemy.
Reports continue to be received that Americans are alive today, being held captive. Whether Foley and Mayercik are among them is not known, but they certainly do not deserve the abandonment they received at the hands of the country they so proudly served.
Brendan P. Foley was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Ronald M. Mayercik to the rank of Captain during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.