CUTHBERT, BRADLEY GENE
Remains Returned, ID'D 12/20/91 - ID disputed. SEE NOTE BELOW
|Name: Bradley Gene Cuthbert
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn Airbase, Thailand
Date of Birth: 23 November 1940
Home City of Record: Ft. Madison IA
Date of Loss: 23 November 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172700N 1063400E (XE565270)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Mark J. Ruhling (released POW)
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. Network from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews. Updated 2020.
SYNOPSIS: On his 28th birthday, Capt. Bradley G. Cuthbert and his
backseater, Capt. Mark J. Ruhling departed Udorn Airfield, Thailand on a
photo reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam in their Phantom fighter
jet. When the aircraft was in the vicinity of Dong Hoi, it was shot down.
Their aircraft, the only one shot down that day, was the first plane shot
down after a bombing halt had been announced. Ruhling ejected safely, made
radio contact with other planes in the area and said that his capture was
imminent. He was then captured by the North Vietnamese.
Bradley Cuthbert's parachute was seen to open by both Ruhling and other
aircraft in the area, indicating that he also successfully ejected. Although
a Marshalltown News (Iowa) article reported in March 1970 that radio contact
was made and that there was a good chance of Cuthbert's having escaped
capture, the Air Force now states that no radio contact was made to verify
that he landed on the ground safely.
A Hanoi news item on November 27 described the capture of one pilot hiding
behind a bush and the aircraft's second pilot being shot while still sitting
in the plane. As the Air Force stated that Brad's plane crashed and burned,
leaving no chance a body would remain intact, this report was not attributed
to the crew of Cuthbert's plane. Besides, both crewmen aboard Cuthbert's
aircraft had successfully bailed out. A second news item described the
capture of another pilot which could have been Cuthbert.
A Christmas 1969 film contained frames of a POW Brad's family feels is him,
yet neither the Vietnamese or the U.S. Department of Defense listed Brad as
When agreements were signed ending the war, 591 American POWs were released,
including Mark Ruhling. Brad Cuthbert was not released, nor has substantial
information been found on his fate since that time. The Vietnamese deny any
knowledge of him. Experts now believe that hundreds of Americans are still
captive in Indochina. One of them could be Brad Cuthbert. It's time we
brought him home.
Senate Select Committee:
North Vietnam Bradley G. Cuthbert
Mark J. Ruhling
On November 23, 1968, Captains Cuthbert and Ruhling were in an RF-
4C on a reconnaissance mission of a surface-to-air missile site in
North Vietnam. While over Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province,
Captain Cuthbert's wingman observed their aircraft hit, break apart
and burst into flames. No chutes were observed.
Two to three minutes later, Captain Ruhling was safely on the
ground and in contact with his wingman. He was later captured
alive by North Vietnamese ground forces. During his debriefing he
reported seeing Captain Cuthbert alive in his chute with his hands
up in the risers. Captain Cuthbert was not seen alive in the
northern Vietnamese prison system. On November 23, 1968 North
Vietnam reported the shoot down of an RF-4C and the death of one of
the aircraft's crewmen.
In August 1989, Joint Casualty Resolution Center personnel
interviewed witnesses in Quang Binh Province concerning this case.
They recovered the dog-tag of Captain Cuthbert from local
villagers. They also received hearsay information that after
landing safely on the ground, Captain Cuthbert was beaten to death
by local wood cutters. JCRC was taken to the purported grave site
which appeared to relate to an entirely separate air loss incident.
Captain Cuthbert was initially declared missing in action. In May
1975, he was declared dead/body not recovered. His remains have
not yet been repatriated.
NOTE: Previous information showed remains identified in 1991. The
Senate, in 1993, states his remains have not yet been repatriated. The
difficulty comes from the more than 2 dozen men whose remains have been
identified but "names have been witheld" at the request of the family.
If you have information that can confirm remains were returned or not,
please contact the P.O.W. NETWORK at 660-928-3304 or email at
From Amanda Kidd
Just in case you can use this for verification that the family hasn't
accepted the ID and still considers him MIA, here's the entry that his
daughter left in a guestbook:
Date: July 10, 2003 05:47:07 PM
What is your name? Shannon (Cuthbert) Sasson
How did you find this website? Surfed by searcing my father's name.
Are you a Veteran? No, I am the daughter of one.
Was this site easy to navigate? Yes
Will you think about adopting a POW/MIA? I already have.
Do you have any comments?
I appreciate your website, but would like to suggest one correction. My
father, Bradley Gene Cuthbert, is listed as having his "remains"
repatriated, and that he is now accounted for~ i.e. No longer Missing In
Action. This is not true-- HE IS STILL MIA ! His repatriated remains
consist of TWO TEETH ! I can certainly exist just fine and live a long and
normal life without two of my teeth. Our government continues to inflict
atrocities such as this on families such as ours. They even spent a large
sum of money to have his TWO TEETH interred into a very elaborate cremtion
urn inscribed with his name, rank, date of casualty ("death"), etc. He
could still be alive over there, but our government has closed his case and
stamped him deceased based upon recovery of these two teeth. They are no
longer looking for him or for any clues regarding is fate. These veterans
deserve far better from the country they gave their all to serve !
Shannon (Cuthbert) Sassen
It happened Today: Questions about Cuthbert's fate remain 41 years
By Robin Delaney/Managing Editor
He would be 69 years old today - if he had lived. But then, he may still be very much alive or perhaps he died during his imprisonment in a POW camp in Vietnam.......