ROBERT EDWIN BRINCKMANN Remains Returned 31 July 1989 Name: Robert Edwin Brinckmann Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 31 December 1928 Home City of Record: Newark NJ Date of Loss: 04 November 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 212400N 1061100E Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105F Refno: 0512 Other Personnel In Incident: Vincent A. Scungio (missing) Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: 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. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 5000 reports have been received by the U.S. Government regarding Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Vietnam. Some, in the words of one State Department official, have withstood the closest scrutiny possible, and cannot be disputed. There is very strong reason to believe that Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia today. In late July, 1989 remains were returned to the United States by the Vietnamese which were subsequently identified as being those of Robert E. Brinckmann. Brinckmann had been -- dead or alive -- a prisoner of war for 23 years. The obvious question is how and when did he die? And, of course, where is Vincent Scungio? Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Thousands of reports have been received indicating that some hundreds remain alive in captivity. Vietnam and her communist allies can account for most of them. Current "negotiations" between the U.S. and Vietnam have yielded the remains of nearly 300 Americans. The families of these men at last have the peace of knowing whether their loved one is alive or dead. In the total view of the issue of the missing, however, the return of remains signals no progress. In the early 1980's the very credible Congressional testimony of a Vietnamese mortician indicated that the Vietnamese are in possession of over 400 sets of remains. In 15 years, they have returned barely half of them. More importantly, the same credible witness, whose testimony is believed throughout Congress, stated that he had seen live Americans held at the same location where the remains were stored. As long as even one American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia, the only issue is that one living man. We must bring them home before there are only remains to negotiate for.