Kaster, Leonard Lee, 1st Lt Fallen
 
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1585A-Navigator
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew
Last Unit
1963-1964, 7th Air Force
Service Years
1959 - 1964
First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Year of Birth
1938
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Holyoke
Last Address
Holyoke

Casualty Date
Aug 06, 1964
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Vietnam, South
Conflict
Wars and Conflicts/Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01E 061

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 Unit Assignments
405th Fighter Wing7th Air Force
  1963-1964, 405th Fighter Wing
  1963-1964, 7th Air Force
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-57 Canberra  
  1963-1964, B-57 Canberra
 Combat and Operations History
  1961-1975 Wars and Conflicts/Vietnam War
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
 

 

During the war the B-57 CANBERRA was used predominantly for armed reconnaissance missions in South Vietnam and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. The aircraft first deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base from the 8th and 13th Bomb Squadrons of the 405th Fighter Wing, Clark Air Base, RP, in 1964, and intially were restricted to unarmed recon operations within South Vietnam.

On 6 August 1964, Captain Fred C. Cutrer , pilot, and 1stLt Leonard L. Kaster, navigator, were flying B-57B tail number 53-3870 from Clark Air Base in the Philippines to Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam. During a bad-weather penetration to landing the aircraft crashed into the Dong Nai River in Long Khan Province, SVN, about 37 kilometers northeast of Bien Hoa AB. Although the wreckage was located the remains of the two men could not be recovered.

While the POW Network biography states

"According to Defense Intelligence data, it received heavy fire from Viet Cong forces, crashed and exploded. Neither crewman was believed to have survived. Both were classified Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered."
the official database indicates that the loss was "Non-hostile". Further, both men were carried as "Missing in Action" for some time before the Secretary of the Air Force approved changing their status from MIA to Killed in Action. The Library of Congress now makes some records regarding MIA persons available, and a JTF-FA report dated 07 May 1997 gives this description of events as written in Dec 1975:

 





When Captain Cutrer's memorial was was first published on 06 Oct 2001, neither Cutrer's nor Kaster's remains had been identified. However, the crash site actually had been located and excavated in 1997. On 25 October 2001, the government announced confirmation that Captain Cutrer and 1LT Kaster both died in the crash. Reports indicate that both ejection seats (and hence both crewmen) were in the aircraft when it crashed.

In an e-mail dated Wednesday, 22 May 2002, Captain Cutrer's son advised that while his father's dogtag had been recovered from the wreckage the very small sizes of the human bone fragments recovered precluded positive identification of either man.

The recovered remains were buried together in Arlington National Cemetery on 06 June 2002. The privately operated Arlington Cemetery site has a report on the burial . Press reports reproduced on that site indicate that 1st Lt Kaster (and presumably Captain Cutrer) was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart at the burial ceremony

   
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