Alvin Eugene Mather

United States Air Force
26 September 1933 - 04 June 1970
Topeka, Kansas
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USAF Navigator

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

The database page for Alvin Eugene Mather

01 Mar 2008

I met Al at the US Air Force Academy in 1967 while assigned to the Military Training Division of the Commandant of Cadets. Al worked in the Navigation Division and all the navigators at the Academy pretty much stuck together since we flew the T-29s flown in the cadet Nav 470 program.

All us nav's with combat experience would good naturedly "rag" Al for his lack of a Vietnam tour which led to some fun times at Al's expense! But he never lost his good humor and smile. I joined the Nav Division in 1968 and for the next two years spent many hours flying, working and partying with Al. He was "hot to trot" to get to the war and was ecstatic when he got the RF-4C assignment. Al was the consumate professional flyer and dedicated family man. There is no doubt he was "pressing on" to complete the mission that night in June 1970!

"Greater love has no one than this,\ that one lay down his life for his friends."\ - John 15:13 -

From a friend,
Jimmy B. Pickens
LtCol USAF (Retired)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On the night of 04 June 1970 the 12th Tac Recon Squadron was tasked with a photo-recon mission along the Cambodian border. RF-4C tail number 66-0385 was crewed by Major Bobby G. Huggins of Troy, Alabama, and Major Alvin E. Mather of Topeka, Kansas.

Personnel at an Army fire support base north-northwest of Djamap airfield reported that a low-altitude, high-speed aircraft had been sighted and that shortly thereafter a major explosion and fire occurred. They launched a helo to visually recon the area; the helo crew found burning aircraft wreckage but were not able to establish radio contact with surviving aircrew. At daybreak a platoon was inserted at the site; although the bulk of the wreckage was buried in a massive crater they did find aircraft parts identifying the aircraft as an RF-4 as well as partial human remains. The crash site was just within South Vietnam about 12 kilometers north-northwest of Djamap, an area where NVA presence prohibited extensive crew recovery operations.

The recovered remains permitted confirmation of Major Mather's death and an assumption that Major Huggins also had died in the crash. Major Mather's family buried him in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Houston, Texas.

So matters stood until 1994, when excavations of the crash site began. The excavations produced fragmented remains which were repatriated in 1995, and subsequent mt-DNA analysis confirmed Major Huggins' death in the crash. In October 1997 his remains were buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 01 Mar 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009