Edwin James Fickler

H&MS 11, MAG-11, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
04 May 1943 - 04 February 1974
Kewaskum, Wisconsin
Panel 34W Line 023

1ST MAW A-6 MAG-11
Naval Aviator

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

The database page for Edwin James Fickler

20 Sep 2005

I wore your MIA-POW bracelet for several years, until the Viet Nam war ended.

I wrote to the Department of the Navy for any information about what happened to you, but they could only tell me that you were missing in action.

Finally after 36 years I know what happened that night of January 17, 1969, in your Intruder, and thanks to the internet I found your picture.

I have thought of you with a heavy heart so many times over the past 36 years.

Rest well, my friend, I shall never forget you.

Lynne Pozzuto
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

10 Nov 2005

I knew Jim just before he went to Vietnam. He had just read a letter from me right before he flew that last mission. To speculate that he could have flown into a mountain is just that - speculation. No one knows what happened unless they were there - I would rather read something from some of his friends than baseless speculation about what happened that tragic night. I will never forget him and think of him often. I went to the Marine Corps Ball with him at Cherry Point in November 1967 - it was a truly magical evening - unforgettable - just like he is.

From a friend,

21 Dec 2005

Jimmy Fickler was my great uncle. I live in Allenton, Wisconsin, a few miles away from Kewaskum. I have his Marine sword. Rest in peace, Uncle Jimmy, wherever you may be.

From his greatnephew,
Jake Seitz
5531 Saint Anthony Road, West Bend, Wisconsin 53090

07 Mar 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the information on this web site. As a young child aged seven or eight I proudly wore an MIA bracelet during the Viet Nam war. I don't know what happened to that bracelet, but I remember it very well. It was a single strip of chromed metal with rounded ends that I wore on my right wrist. It had a small circular sticker on it, a white background with a single blue star. The name engraved on the bracelet, "Capt. E. James Fickler", the name of a man I shall never forget.

Although the only thing I knew of him is that he was missing in action, I have always felt a bond with him. My mother - being fiercely patriotic and having a brother in the army during the war - gave me the bracelet. She gave me a sense that the bracelet was important, that it represented a real person, an American. Now, as it was then, he deserves my thoughts, respect, and gratitude.

Having children who are around the same age as Captain Fickler, and myself being a veteran who joined the army at an age older than he was when his plane went down, I am struck by how young he really was. I will keep his picture and continue to remember him often. Thank you for providing closure to the mystery of an honored soul who has always been, and will forever be a part of my life.

Stephen Douglas
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

31 Mar 2006

Jim and I were roommates going through Navy/Marine flight training. We shared many fun times and Fick was always full of energy and spirit. He also was a terrific cook! I remember well the good times Jim had driving his red Corvette! What a great car - bright red with a 427 engine. I got married while in advanced flight training and Jim came to my bride's rescue with some timely cooking lessons.

I will always remember him as I am still wearing his POW/MIA bracelet today. I do it for two reasons: 1) To honor Fick's life and service to our great nation; 2) to remind me of my blessings in life and never to take my freedom for granted.

I love ya, MAN!! Forever, Tom

From a friend and roommate,
Tom Mitchell, CAPT, USN (Ret)

01 Jun 2006

Thank you for this site. I proudly wore your bracelet while in high school. I take it out of a safe deposit box each Memorial Day. It's difficult to explain how close you can become with someone you don't know. I too will never forget the name of Captain E. James Fickler.

Rocky Grimes

29 Jun 2006

As a 20 year old National Guard member just returning from an active duty stint in support of Desert Shield, I purchased A POW-MIA bracelet in support of the Air Force ROTC on the campus of Mississippi State University. I found one from Kewauskum, Wisconsin, which is where my father was born and raised so I got it. It bore the name Edwin J Fickler. I didn't tell my dad about it because this was a time before I was born and he received an educational deferral, so we didn't talk about the war.

On a weekend visit home, he saw the bracelet and his face went white, and he whispered the name "Jimmy". We sat down and talked for over an hour abut Jimmy Fickler and his family and the fun times he had with my dad's older brother. I learned so much more about the man before he went away, and the pain the family had when they received the news.

16 years later, I still have the bracelet, and as I came across it today, I put his name is a search engine and found this site - so thank you. This answers some questions I had, but still leaves others unanswered.

From the son of a friend.

05 Jul 2006

I also wore your bracelet while in high school and still have this bracelet. I look at it often and say a prayer for you. I always wanted to put a picture to the name I will never forget.

Carolina Evans

25 Apr 2007

My bracelet says "James E Fickler" and it wasn't until years later, on the internet, that I discovered that it should have read "Edwin J. Fickler".

I bought that bracelet in either late 1969 or 1970 and wore it during the remainder of the conflict, including my tour of duty there.

The bracelet now sits on my coffee table, in plain sight, so that I and guests to my house will never forget your sacrifice.

Rest peacefully, my friend.

From an unknown friend,
John Derickson

19 May 2007

I am glad to find this site and to learn more about the man on the MIA bracelet I wore in high school and college. The war ended while I was in ROTC at the University of Mississippi, but my instructors had served in Vietnam and they allowed me to wear the bracelet while in uniform. 30+ years later I thank them for that. When I was commisioned and went on active duty, I had to put the bracelet away. While looking through a box of keepsakes, I came across the small box containing my bracelet. My first thought was to check the internet and it took me straight to this site. Thank you. Your information fills a void and makes me feel even closer.

From MIA bracelet,
LTC(R) Drue B. Garrison
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

17 Aug 2007

I also wore Capt. E. James Fickler's P. O. W. bracelet for many years. (I didn't know they issued more than one for each MIA.)

I prayed for your safe return, and have always thought of you ... especially on January 19th.

Isn't is something how, without knowing him or even what he looked like, he touched my life and Lynne's too.

I just found my bracelet this morning, and thanks to this web site I have a handsome face to help me remember this hero. Rest in peace, Captain Fickler.

Tina Pilliter Monroe
Riverside, CA

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The A-6 Intruder was designed for single-aircraft night/bad-weather low-level attack missions, but such missions carry risks other than those imposed by enemy gunners. On 17 Jan 1969 an A-6A, BuNo 152586, flown by Capt Edwin J. Fickler and then-2ndLt Robert J. Kuhlman was tasked with a night low-level strike in the A Shau Valley in northwestern South Vietnam. As usual, the A-6 was unaccompanied and radar contact with the aircraft was lost as it entered mountainous terrain west of Danang. The crew did check in with a Forward Air Controller who assigned them a target area but then lost contact with them.

Quite simply, the aircraft disappeared, victim to either enemy antiaircraft fire or a ground collision. Search and rescue efforts failed to locate wreckage or either crewman. Both men were classed as Missing in Action and remained in that status until the Secretary of the Navy approved Presumptive Findings of Death, Fickler on 04 Feb 1974 and Kuhlman on 16 June 1978.

Captain Fickler was assigned to H&MS 11, MAG-11, while 2ndLt Kuhlman, of Richmond, Indiana, was assigned to VMA(AW)-242.

The POW Network and Task Force Omega sites both have descriptions of this incident, but they conflict one with the other. TFO claims that
"At 2125 hours, Capt. Fickler and 1st Lt. Kuhlman were providing close air support for embattled US and allied troops operating along the east rim of the A Shau Valley. After completing an attack pass on a known enemy position hidden in the rugged jungle covered mountains, the Intruder pulled off target and was struck by enemy ground fire. It was seen by friendly forces to crash approximately 1 mile south of a primary east/west road running from the east side of the A Shau Valley to Hue City."
but that seems unlikely.

The VMA(AW)-242 and MAG-11 Command Chronologies for January 1969 contain information on this loss:

  • The Squadron Command Chronology states that
    "On the night of 17 January DT-07 [the aircraft side number] with Capt FICKLER and Lt KULHMAN failed to return from their mission in the A Shau Valley. A comprehensive rescue effort was initiated with negative results. Indications point to their being shot down by enemy 37mm guns. However, no wreckage has been sighted."

    "First Lieutenant Robert J. KUHLMAN Jr. 094382/7583, USMC, was missing in action 17 January 1969. The aircraft in which he was flying as Bombardier/Navigator was conducting Direct Air Support/Armed Reconnaissance against enemy infiltration routes into South Vietnam. At 2125 the last radio contact with the aircraft was made by REDEYE 05 [the USAF FAC]. A visual and electronic search was conducted in the A Shau Valley, suplemented as conditions warranted by photographic aircraft. The search was discontinued as of 1600 hours 24 January 1969. The results of the search were negative." (page 2)

    The squadron Daily Flight Schedule for 17 Jan 69 shows that Captain Fickler had been scheduled for a beacon bombing mission to launch at 2340. He was swapped with a Major Lono to take an armed recon mission with a scheduled takeoff of 2040. 1stLt Kuhlman was scheduled as the B/N for that mission.

  • The MAG-11 Command Chronology states that
    "On 17 January, an A6A was lost in the A Shau Valley while on a Direct Air Support mission. The Crew is missing in action and the wreckage has not been located." (page 2-1)
Although the squadron suggests the possibility that the aircraft was hit by 37mm fire, the intelligence section of the same report indicates that neither the FAC nor the initial SAR forces saw or received AAA fire while in the Valley. Since the wreckage was never located there is no physical evidence.

One of The Virtual Wall staff is an ex-A6 aviator with about 100 missions along the Laotian border and knows that "fast mover" night close air support via visual dive bombing was essentially unheard of - the risk to friendly troops was just too great. Higher altitude level bombing via SKYSPOT radar was used, and offset bombing from a radar beacon using the Intruder's weapons system also was used ... but that too involved higher altitudes and a level delivery. It seems far more likely that the aircraft hit one of the mountainsides while pulling off target. A shallow system dive-bombing run would have been conducted along the long axis of the valley, would have placed the aircraft well below the mountaintops at pull-out, and the normal change of direction after weapons release would have had the aircraft turning toward the hillsides as it came off target at 360 knots (415 mph) or so. Enemy antiaircraft fire may have contributed to the loss, but it could equally have occurred without AAA involvement.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Lynne Pozzuto
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index F
WI State Index . Panel 34W
MAG-11 Index


With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 20 Sep 2005
Last updated 11/10/2007