ZUKOWSKI, ROBERT JOHN
REMAINS IDENTIFIED 10/30/96
Name: Robert John Zukowski
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 30 October 1943
Home City of Record: Chicago IL
Date of Loss: 11 January 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: N170700 E1060300
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project and the P.O.W. NETWORK 27 March
1992 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency
sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews,
family approved obituary. 2020
SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many
diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over
North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the
heaviest losses in action. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by
night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild
Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground
mis- siles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25
On February 11, 1969, Major Zukowski led a mission of two F-105D aircraft
from Takhli Air Base on a mission over Laos. It was during the attack on a
heavily defended area that his plane was shot down. Major Zukowski was
placed in a missing in action status at that time.
On January 15, 1979, his status was changed by the Department of Defense to
presumed killed in action.
For Zukowski, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others, however,
simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of over 10,000
reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the certain
knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war were not
released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be prisoners, and
still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers when last seen
alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents, only to
disappear without a trace.
Prior to Major Zukowski's military service he earned a Bachelor of Science
Degree from the University of Detroit College of Engineering and
He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the
Society of American Military Engineers. He enthusiastically participated in
intramural sports and was an active member of the Air Force Reserve Officers
Traing Corps throughout his college years.
Major Zukowski began his Air Force career with flight training after being
commissioned a Second Lieutenant on October 16, 1966. The following year, he
was awarded the aeronautical rating of Pilot, and received his wings at
Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas on October 21, 1967.
His foreign service tour of duty commenced on June 12, 1968 as a pilot with
the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Air Base, Thailand. During the
next seven months, Major Zukowski flew one-hundred twenty-two combat
missions in support of military opera- tions in Southeast Asia.
He earned the following awards: Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf
Cluster; Air Medal with First thru Seventh Oak Leaf Cluster; Purple Heart;
Vietnam Service Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Longevity Service Award Ribbon.
Major Zukowski is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Frank
Zukowski; and three brothers, Thomas, Raymond and Michael.
AIR FORCE MAJ. ROBERT J. ZUKOWSKI OF CHICAGO; LOST FEB. 11, 1969, LAOS.
THREE JOINT FIELD ACTIVITIES IN 1993 AND 1996 RESULTED IN THE RECOVERY
OF "AIRCRAFT AND CREW RELATED DEBRIS, AS WELL AS HUMAN REMAINS."
DEFENSE POW/MIA WEEKLY UPDATE - OCTOBER 30, 1996
Fallen pilot laid to rest
Family buries son 27 years later
by Stephanie Gehring
A pallbearer dressed in full mid military uniform lifted the folded American
flag above his head with his white-gloved hands, then slow Iy lowered it to
chest level before' placing it into a triangular wooden box.
The boxed flag was given toAnthony Zukowski with a salute from another
pallbearer. Zukowski clutched it tightly. It was for the son he had lost so