• newark
  • Essex
  • December 31, 1928
  • November 04, 1966
  • Air Force
  • RANK:
  • COL
  • RR
  • North Vietnam


Robert Edwin Brinckmann was born on December 31, 1928.  His home of record is Newark, NJ.

Robert entered the US Air Force and attained the rank of Colonel (COL). He was stationed in Fort Walton Beach, FL, before being sent to Vietnam.

On November 4, 1966, Brinckmann was listed as missing in action, when his 'Wild Weasel' F-105F was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery while attacking a surface-to-air-missile site in North Vietnam.  His electronic warfare officer, Capt. Vince Scungio, was with him.  The men belonged to the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Airbase, Thailand.

His status was later changed to killed in action.  He left behind a wife and four children, including a daughter, Barbara.

Brinckmann's decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross with Two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Silver Star.

Brinckmann's remains were repatriated on July 31, 1989, and positively identified on October 20, 1989.  He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It also suffered more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was constantly under revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing capability and ECM pods for the wings. The F model carried a second crewman, which made it well suited for the role of suppressing North Vietnam's missile defenses.

Major Robert E. Brinckmann was an F105F Air Force pilot assigned a combat mission over North Vietnam on November 4, 1966. His co-pilot that day was Capt. Vincent A. Scungio.

When the aircraft was about 60 miles northeast of Hanoi in Ha Bac Province, North Vietnam, it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Scungio and Brinckmann were declared Missing In Action.

When 591 Americans were released from Vietnam in 1973, Scungio and Brinckmann were not among them. Military officials were shocked to learn that hundreds of Americans known or suspected to be prisoners of war were not released.

In an attempt to determine those cases for which the Vietnamese should be able to make an accounting, the Defense Intelligence Agency expanded Brinckmann and Scungio's classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect knowledge" and includes personnel who may have been involved in loss incidents with individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which was discussed but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified (by elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source intelligence. Still, the Vietnamese denied any knowledge of the two missing Americans.

The body of Col. Robert Edwin Brinckmann was buried with full military honors in April 1990 in Arlington National Cemetery after being returned by the government of Vietnam.

Sources: POW Network, Anthony Buccino (author, Nutley Sons Honor Roll) and NJVVMF.


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