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Edwin "Jim" Fickler-MIA in Vietnam

Updated: May 1, 2022

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"Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones; one of

many anti-war songs during the Vietnam War

My brother Steve, my parents only son, served in the Vietnam War. I shouldn't have been surprised when he joined the military since as kids he and I could usually be found in our backyard using fire crackers to blow up little green army men. Steve joined the Marines when he was 17 years old with the blessings of my father, the Rumboogiecrew tail gunner, who also lied about a couple of my brother's health issues. Steve was a skinny kid who was constantly being picked on, and he was determined not to be picked on ever again. Since I was only 12 years old when he left for basic training, I didn't realize the danger he would eventually be in. Thank God, Steve came home after serving one tour in Vietnam, unlike 58,220 other soldiers who did not. You can see my interview with Steve about our father on this website at

Two soldiers who did not come home from Vietnam were Jim Fickler (below left), a pilot, and Robert J Kuhlman (below right) a navigator. To see Robert Kuhlman's blog on this website, go to

On January 17, 1969, their A6 Intruder was struck by enemy fire and crashed in the A Shau Valley. Immediately, search and rescue crews were launched and they initiated a visual and electronic search for the two men. No parachutes had been seen, no emergency electronic beepers had been heard, and no voice contact could be established with the two men. Also, due to heavy enemy activity in the area, ground searches were not possible. Both men were listed as "missing in action," and they still remain missing today (Lt. Fickler is one of 37 veterans still MIA from Wisconsin and the cousin of Rum Boogie Crew Co-Pilot Lloyd J. Fickler).

A Shau Valley Looking South

My brother Steve looked at the above map. He told me he was in that same place in 1965, and it was a very rugged area. Steve offered this explanation: "At the time he was shot down, he was likely killed in the crash. If the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong went to the crash site, they would have scavenged all of the equipment they could and quite possibly buried the two crewmen."

Jim Fickler's story prompted me to contact the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency for any information about him to which I received a form letter reply. I see what looks like a small red circle on the map designating where the two men crashed and wonder: It seems like smaller things have been found in larger areas.

The Vietnam War lasted for 20 years. No matter what anyone says or thinks about this particular tragedy, the truth is that the

United States government has not done even close to enough to find and bring home the missing Americans who proudly served in Vietnam at a time in our history when many others would not.

Jim Fickler by a hooch in Viet Nam