Accident Grumman A-6A Intruder 152586, Thursday 16 January 1969
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Date:Thursday 16 January 1969
Type:Silhouette image of generic A6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Grumman A-6A Intruder
Owner/operator:VMA(AW)-242 USMC
Registration: 152586
MSN: I-134
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Bu Lach, A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam -   Vietnam
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Da Nang AB, South Vietnam (DAD/VVNN)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
A-6A Intruder BuNo. 152586/'DT-07' of VMA(AW)‑242, MAG‑11, US Marine Corps, based at Da Nang Air Base. Lost on combat operations on January 16, 1969: Believed shot down by ground fire at night near Bu Lach, A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. Last radio contact was made at 21:45 hours by Army "RED EYE" (0V-l) at approximate Coordinates: 16'07.00" North 107'21.00" East

No wreckage was ever found of the aircraft, which had been working with a USAF Forward Air Controller when radio contact was lost. The squadron initially reported 37 mm AAA as the probable cause. Pilot Captain Jim Fickler and his Bombardier/Navigator, 1st Lt Robert Kuhlman, were both killed. Fickler, who had just received his 14th Air Medal, had actually been a late replacement on the flight for squadron Executive Officer Luther Lono.

The FAC later concluded that what he had thought were CBUs may have been anti-aircraft fire and the secondary explosion instead the crash of the A-6A Intruder. The aircraft was declared overdue by Jim’s squadron at 22:15. All potential diversion airfields (Ubon AFB, Udorn AFB, and Chu Lai) were contacted and it was determined that the flight had not diverted to any of those bases. Search and Rescue efforts were initiated by the squadron at 22:25. Electronic search by MAG 11 aircraft was immediately initiated and continued through the night. Sophisticated visual, electronic and photographic searches continued for almost five days, but were conclude with negative results at 12:30 on January 22, 1969

The status of Captain Jim Fickler was officially changed from MIA to KIA (Body Not Recovered) with effect from February 4, 1974. 1st Lt Robert Kuhlman, likewise has his status changed from MIA to KIA (Body Not Recovered) with effect from June 19 1978

On May 12, 1994, a Joint Field Activity team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command investigated a 500 meter by 500 meter area centered on the last reported coordinates without finding any traces of aircraft wreckage. On December 11, 1995, The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs wrote to Jim’s next of kin advising that the Defense Department would defer any further active field investigation seeking his remains until new leads were discovered. To date, no new leads have been developed


1. A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War By Rick Morgan

Revision history:

28-Mar-2013 09:08 Uli Elch Added
28-Mar-2013 09:10 Uli Elch Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Narrative]
19-Aug-2013 09:14 Uli Elch Updated [Operator]
20-Mar-2016 17:03 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
27-Dec-2019 15:14 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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