New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

ANDREW IVAN

Hometown:
South River

County:
Middlesex

Status:
RR

Rank:
CAPT

Branch of Service:
Air Force

Country of Incident:
LAOS

Date of Casualty:
Sep 10, 1971

Date of Birth:
Sep 23, 1944

Andrew Ivan, Jr. was born on September 23, 1944. His home of record is South River, NJ.

According to friends "Andy" was a remarkable athlete at South River High School playing quarterback and pitcher. After graduation, Andy attended Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio where he focused on baseball. In addition to sports Andy was known as a brilliant musician. He played the guitar. At Marietta College Ivan was a fraternity brother at Alpha Tau Omega. In 1991 a group of ATO brothers had a marble bench constructed in his honor. This effort was led by another New Jersey native, Dennis DeGroat. The memorial bench stands in a very special place on the Marietta College campus. The bench was dedicated before Andy's remains were identified and he was interred at Arlington. In 2010 arrangements were being made to construct a plaque to attach to the bench at Marietta.

Ivan served in the US Air Force 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron where he attained the rank of Major (MAJ). As a pilot, he often flew out of Udorn Royal Tai Air Base at Udorn, Thailand.

On September 10, 1971, Ivan was listed as missing in action when his aircraft disappeared.

Ivan's remains were repatriated on August 31, 1994, and identified on March 7, 1996.

Andy attended Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT or just flight school) at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. He was in class 60-03 graduating in October of 1968. From there, he attended Combat Crew Training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ.

Andy and I were roommates at flight school. He was not loud but very funny and well liked and often quoted. Men liked him and women chased him. He had no bad habits. He was neat, clean and respectful of others. He was not a choirboy. He was a man and a good one.

He was sent to Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam for his first tour flying F-4C's for the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) where he flew combat missions in support of ground troops engaged with the enemy and interdiction strikes into Laos. When he was deactivated in March 1970, he was transferred to Da Nang Air Base, to the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron (of the 366th TFW or The Gunfighters) where he flew F-4D's and F-4E's. There, he continued to fly against enemy troops and supply routes in Laos but also took part in attacks against North Vietnam.

Andy was flying for the 13th TFS at Udorn Air Base in Thailand in 1971 when he did not return home from a mission. He was flying as a High Speed Forward Air Controller at this time. Much of their work at the time was in support of a secret war in northern Laos. This was a dangerous, all-volunteer unit that exposed themselves to heavy ground fire to find targets and report enemy movements. The crews would fly low to the ground (500 feet) at about 600 mph pulling high-G's at all times below the hilltops in bad weather. It took skill, experience and luck.

Written by John Shelton, Friend
July 2006

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
Major Ivan, the pilot of an F-4D Phantom fighter-bomber was sent on a forward air control mission, which took him over the Plaine des Jarres in Laos on September 10, 1971. When the Phantom and its crew failed to return to Udorn, an intensive air search was initiated. A crash site was located near the village of Ban Ban in Xianghoang Province, Laos and air photos showed what appeared to be the main carriage of an F4 aircraft. No sign of the crew was found.

Major Ivan was declared missing in action until August 23, 1978, when the Department of the Air Force to changed his status killed in action. His remains have since been repatriated and he is now listed as remains repatriated. Andrew is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Information provided by John Shelton (friend), John Frey (friend), POW Network and NJVVMF.

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