Remains Identified 09/2004

Name: Robert Harry Schuler, Jr.
Rank/Branch:  O3/US Air Force
Unit: 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli AB TH
Date of Birth: 14 December 1935
Home City of Record:  Wellsburg NY
Date of Loss: 15 October 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 214800N 1044700E (VH775998)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Refno: 0164

Other Personnel In Incident: In another F105D, same location: Thomas W. Sima
(released POW)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 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 2018.


SYNOPSIS: Capt. Robert H. Schuler, Jr. and Capt. Thomas W. Sima were
assigned to the 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Yokota Air Base,
Japan. Beginning in August 1964, the squadron performed rotational duty to
Southeast Asia, and flew out of Takhli Air Base Thailand.

Their aircraft, The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions,
flew more missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It
also suffered more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was
constantly under revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped
with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot
ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing
capability and ECM pods for the wings.

Schuler and Sima were pilots of separate F105D aircraft which departed
Takhli on October 15, 1965 on a combat mission over North Vietnam in Ha
Tiang. During the mission, both aircraft were hit by enemy fire. Sima
ejected safely and was captured and taken to Hanoi. Schuler's fate is still

Interestingly, Schuler and Sima were downed not many miles from a prison at
Yen Bai which was later known to have been a detention facility for American
Prisoners of War. Their combat missions in that area of North Vietnam, along
the Red River qualifies both as "River Rats," a fighter pilot association.

Robert H. Schuler was declared Missing in Action. Sima was luckier. In 1973,
591 American prisoners were released from prison camps in Vietnam, and among
them was Sima. Schuler apparently never surfaced in the prison system in
which Sima was held, and he never learned his fate for certain.

When the war ended, refugees from the communist-overrun countries of
Southeast Asia began to flood the world, bringing with them stories of live
GI's still in captivity in their homelands. Since 1975, over 10,000 such
stories have been received. Many authorities believe that hundreds of
Americans are still held in the countries in Southeast Asia.

The U.S. Government operates on the "assumption" that one or more men are
being held, but that it cannot "prove" that this is the case, allowing
action to be taken. Meanwhile, low-level talks between the U.S. and Vietnam
proceed, yielding a few sets of remains when it seems politically expedient
to return them, but as yet, no living American has returned.

Robert H. Schuler Jr. was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he
was maintained missing in action. Thomas W. Sima was promoted to the rank of
Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was a prisoner of war.

Remains of upstate military pilot identified in Vietnam

ELMIRA, N.Y. (AP) - The remains of an upstate native missing since his
fighter-bomber was shot down in Vietnam nearly four decades ago have been
identified, according to the head of a veterans' group and a family member.
Air Force Capt. Robert Harry Schuler Jr. of Ashland was declared missing in
action Oct. 15, 1965, when his F-105 Thunderchief went down over North

MIA vet laid to rest in Franklindale
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