Edwin Byron Tucker
Remains Identified - 1988
|SYNOPSIS: On April 24, 1967, Lt.Cdr. Edwin B. Tucker launched from USS Bon Homme
Richard on board an F8C Crusader aircraft accompanying eight A4 bombers that had
targeted rail lines near Hon Gay City, Quang Ninh Province, North Vietnam. Tucker's
job was to draw anti-aircraft fire long enough to allow the bombers to complete their
As Lt.Cdr. Tucker passed through 5,000 feet his plane took a direct hit by 85mm anti- aircraft fire. Tucker bailed out before the aircraft crashed, and pilots in the bombers observed his fully opened parachute. Numerous reports place Tucker safely on the ground near Hon Gay City, northeast of Hanoi.
Subsequent intelligence reports indicate that after landing, Tucker was severely injured
and taken to the city hospital at Hon Gay City where he subsequently died of his wounds.
A 1967 Nhan Dan newspaper article praised a Vietnamese peasant, who, defending
himself with only a hoe, overcame an "American pilot war criminal". This article
After his death, the flesh was removed from Tucker's body, and his skeleton prepared
and used as a teaching aid in the medical school of Quang Ninh province in Hon Gay
Tucker's status remained POW until 1974 until a "Presumptive Finding of Death" (PFOD) occurred. Over the next 20 years, Vietnamese ignored repeated requests that Tucker's remains be returned to the United States. Lt.Cdr. Tucker's remains were hanging at a teaching hospital where they were nothing more than a skeletal scientific specimen to be poked and probed for whatever medical secrets it held. Included in the case with Tucker's skeleton was his flight helmet with his name stenciled across the front.
In late November 1988, Edwin B. Tucker's remains were repatriated after family members and U.S. officials agreed not to disclose details about the case that might embarrass Vietnam.
The peculiar case of Edwin B. Tucker brought outcries from those close to the POW/MIA issue. They were outraged that an American hero could be so callously displayed "under the nose of the U.S. for over 20 years". They were further enraged that the U.S. had such weak bargaining power that the only way Tucker's remains could be returned for an honorable burial was for the Vietnamese' unspeakable actions to be ignored entirely.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast
Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities believe there are
hundreds of Americans still alive. Little wonder, according to critics, "that these men
(Edwin Byron Tucker graduated from Tufts University and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.)