On the evening of 17 January 1969 Robert Kuhlman was the Bombardier/Navigator of an A6A Intruder conducting direct air support and armed reconnaissance missions in the vicinity of the A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The A Shau Valley parallels the Vietnam/Laos border and is approximately 30 miles southwest of the city of Hue. The aircraft departed Da Nang Air Base at 8:43pm, and arrived in the A Shau Valley area at approximately 8:50pm Upon arriving in the area, the B/N contacted the Forward Air Controller for assignment of missions. At 9:25pm the Forward Air Controller passed a target to the aircraft which appeared in the northern portion of the Valley. The Controller of the mission attempted to contact the aircraft at 9:45pm to assign another target; this attempt was met with negative results. Further attempts were made to make contact but in each instance the results were negative.
Search operations were initiated at 10:25pm and continued throughout the night. The following day visual, electronic and photographic searches were conducted until 12:30pm on 22 January 1969. All searches failed to reveal any sign of the aircraft.
The possibility that the aircraft crashed in the target area can only be presumed. The airborne controller did observe what appeared to be an explosion, which he assumed at that time was a bomb cluster followed by a secondary explosion. It was known that the enemy possessed antiaircraft weapons in the vicinity of the A Shau Valley.
Name: Robert John Kuhlman Jr.
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/O2
Unit: VMA 242 MAG 11
Date of Birth: 25 August 1944
Home City of Record: RICHMOND IN
Date of Loss: 17 January 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 106700 North 1072100 East
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A #152586
Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Edwin Fickler, missing Refno: 1362
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 and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File, Department of the Navy.