Edward E. Mayer, 60, a retired Army colonel who helped plan the raid on Son Tay prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam in 1970, died Saturday following a heart attack. He was stricken at his home in McLean and was pronounced deat at Fairfax Hospital.
Col. Mayer, who was born in McClusky, N.D., entered the Army as a second lieutenant in 1941. He fought in Europe during World War II, in the Korean conflict and in Vietnam, where he was with the Army Special Forces, or Green Berets. He also served with the Green Berets in the Dominican Republic during the police action there in the mid-1960s.
He was chief of the special operations division on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington at the time of the Son Tay raid. He helped plan the operation, but did not take part in it. It was executed successfully by other Green Berets, although no prisoners of war were found at Son Tay.
Since retiring from the Army in 1972, Col. Mayer had been an assistant vice president for special projects at the BDM Corp. in McLean, a consulting firm.
Col. Mayer earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Omaha while serving in the Army. He earned a master's in international relations from George Washington University in 1966. He was a graduate of the Army War College.
His military decorations included the Silver Star Medal of and three awards of the Legion of Merit.
He was a member of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in McLean.
Survivors include his wife, Claire Gade Mayer, of the home in McLean; a son, Edward M., also of the home; a daughter, Patricia M. Sweet, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; four brothers, Fred and Robert, of McClusky, Jack, of Los Angeles, and Ned, of Bismarck, N.D.; four sisters, Pauline Thatcher, of Los Angeles, and Bertha Hamilton, Lee Boelter and Martha Still, all of McClusky, and four grandchildren.
The family suggest that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the JFK Special Memorial Museum Association, AC of S, G-1 JFK CMA, Fort Bragg, N.C., 28307.