Name: Frederick John Sutter
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 26 February 1946
Home City of Record: Leawood KS
Date of Loss: 31 December 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 172900N 1054200E (WE751343)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 1794

Official photo

Other Personnel in Incident: William Y. Duggan (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 2019.


SYNOPSIS: When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in
South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for
sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some
years before. The border road, termed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" was used for
transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hundreds of American pilots were
shot down trying to stop this communist traffic to South Vietnam.
Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam were extremely successful
and the recovery rate was high.

Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many of them went down
along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains
between Laos and Vietnam. Many were alive on the ground and in radio contact
with search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been
captured. Hanoi's communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke
of American prisoners they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated,
Laos was not included, and not a single American was released that had been
held in Laos.

On New Year's Eve, 1971, Capt. Frederick J. Sutter, pilot, and Maj. William
Y. Duggan, bombardier/navigator departed on a mission over Laos in their F4D
Phantom fighter/bomber jet. Their target area was near Na Phao in Khammouane
Province, Laos - the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Sutter and Duggan did not return from their mission, and were declared
Missing in Action. Like other families whose men were missing, the Sutter
and Duggan families waited for the war to end, hoping always that their sons
had been captured and would eventually come home.

For Herman and Mary Sutter, Fred's parents, history was repeating itself.
Herman Sutter had been a prisoner of war during World War II, but returned
home. His aircraft had exploded at 10,000 feet, but he survived. Both
believed Fred could survive against tremendous odds as well.

In January 1973, the U.S. and Vietnamese signed an agreement in Paris to end
American involvement in the second Indochina War. Laos was not part of the
negotiations, and as a result, the "tens of tens" of American prisoners the
Lao stated they held were never released. In fact, not one single American
held in Laos was released then or since.

Were it not for the thousands of reports concerning Americans still held
captive in Southeast Asia, the Sutter and Duggan families might be able to
close this tragic chapter of their lives. Fred's father died not knowing
what happened to his son. Duggan's son and daughter, only 10 and 9 when
their dad was lost, are now rapidly approaching 30. As long as reports
continue to be received that Americans are alive, being held captive, they
fear that Sutter and Duggan could be among them. What must they be thinking
of us? It's time we brought our men home.

Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 13:40:24 -0400
From: <>


I m proud to have the bracelet of CAPT FREDERICK SUTTER from Kansas. I found it among my
Fatherís belongings after he passed. If the Sutter family would like this bracelet, I will gladly mail
it to them.

My family had an MIA experience in WW ii, also a pilot. He went down over CZ in 1944. His crash
site and remains were found immediately. The little village placed him in their cemetery. Thank
goodness for allies! His body was eventually returned.

I wish your experience had been better. I remember all the family stories of the grief and anguish
it brought.
May knowing that others care, ease your sorrow.

Becca Beall Marietta, Ga





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On December 31, 1971, a F-4D Phantom II (tail number 66-7573, call sign "Owl 2") with a crew of two departed Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base on a nighttime forward air controller (FAC) mission for a target area south of Mu Gia Pass on the Laotian border. When the aircraft was in the vicinity of grid coordinates WE 751 343, it was contacted by another FAC plane which passed on the target coordinates of several trucks in the area south of the pass. After heading for the target area, the F-4D failed to return to base within the appointed time. Electronic and visual searches were carried out, but were unsuccessful. 

Captain Frederick John Sutter, who joined the U.S. Air Force from Kansas, served with the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was the weapons systems officer aboard the Phantom II when it disappeared, and his remains were not recovered. Captain Sutter is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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