Fred Clay Cutrer, Jr

United States Air Force
09 January 1935 - 06 August 1964
Osyka, Mississippi
Panel 01E Line 060

13TH AF B-57 Canberra 405TH FW
USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Fred Clay Cutrer, Jr

6 Oct 2001


I wore your POW bracelet from the 7th grade (1969) until I enlisted in the Navy (1976) and was forced to remove it during Boot Camp. The women in our company raised a strong protest about having to remove the bracelets and although we were not allowed to wear them, subsequent companies were not required to remove theirs.

Your rubbing from the Wall in Washington, DC, is framed in my living room along with my brother, John E. Mattingly , SSGT, USMC, and neither of you will be forgotten.

I would like to hear from any friend, relative, or comrade who can tell me anything about you.

From one who wore his MIA bracelet,
Cynthia J. Balderson, CWO3, USN (Ret)

25 Jun 2007

Hello, Fred. I want you to tell you that I have been in contact with someone who knew Lee Kaster in San Antonio in 1963. I was in service when I got his MIA bracelet and I wore it even though it ruffled a few feathers. Rest well, friend. You will not be forgotten.

From the friend of a friend,
Greg DeSimone

Notes from The Virtual Wall

During the war the B-57 CANBERRA was used predominantly for armed reconnaissance missions in South Vietnam and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. The aircraft first deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base from the 8th and 13th Bomb Squadrons of the 405th Fighter Wing, Clark Air Base, RP, in 1964, and intially were restricted to unarmed recon operations within South Vietnam.

On 6 August 1964, Captain Fred C. Cutrer, pilot, and 1LT Leonard L. Kaster , navigator, were flying B-57B tail number 53-3870 from Clark Air Base in the Philippines to Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam. During a bad-weather penetration to landing the aircraft crashed into the Dong Nai River in Long Khan Province, SVN, about 37 kilometers northeast of Bien Hoa AB. Although the wreckage was located the remains of the two men could not be recovered.

While the POW Network biography states

"According to Defense Intelligence data, it received heavy fire from Viet Cong forces, crashed and exploded. Neither crewman was believed to have survived. Both were classified Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered."
the official database indicates that the loss was "Non-hostile". Further, both men were carried as "Missing in Action" for some time before the Secretary of the Air Force approved changing their status from MIA to Killed in Action. The Library of Congress now makes some records regarding MIA persons available, and a JTF-FA report dated 07 May 1997 gives this description of events as written in Dec 1975:

When Captain Cutrer's memorial was was first published on 06 Oct 2001, neither Cutrer's nor Kaster's remains had been identified. However, the crash site actually had been located and excavated in 1997. On 25 October 2001, the government announced confirmation that Captain Cutrer and 1LT Kaster both died in the crash. Reports indicate that both ejection seats (and hence both crewmen) were in the aircraft when it crashed.

In an e-mail dated Wednesday, 22 May 2002, Captain Cutrer's son advised that while his father's dogtag had been recovered from the wreckage the very small sizes of the human bone fragments recovered precluded positive identification of either man.

The recovered remains were buried together in Arlington National Cemetery on 06 June 2002. The privately operated Arlington Cemetery site has a report on the burial . Press reports reproduced on that site indicate that 1st Lt Kaster (and presumably Captain Cutrer) was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart at the burial ceremony.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Cynthia J. Balderson, CWO3, USN ( Ret )

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 6 Oct 2001
Last updated 02/05/2008