Leonard Lee Kaster

First Lieutenant
United States Air Force
24 September 1938 - 06 August 1964
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Panel 01E Line 061


B-57 Canberra

405TH FW
USAF Navigator

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Leonard Lee Kaster

07 Aug 2003

You are not forgotten.

I remain to respect and keep your bracelet.

You are home!

If you were interred in Holyoke, I would visit you.

Your bracelet will remain with me until and IF I find family of yours.

With respect and love,
Patty Mielke

August 6, 2005

I have been in touch with a lady that knew you in your youth. She has told me much about you and your sister. She also sent me a copy of the newspaper article that spoke of your disappearance.

I find it 'strange' or is it 'ironic' that besides her knowing you and your family that she also knew a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. You knew him also, I believe. This officer is in my daily prayers as I recall all too vividly the day that he was shot.

This lady has your bracelet, as I do... I sent this lady a memorial bracelet with the fallen officer's name on it... it seems the three of you are now 'linked' once again.

You are not forgotten, Leonard.

With respect, Patty

06 Aug 2007


Patty, Bill, and Pat

Patricia Mielke
12 Melinda Lane, Easthampton, Ma 01027
26 Dec 2003

Hello Lt. Kastner, I have carried your name bracelet for a long time. I wore it while I took a history class on the Vietnam war last semester at the local university. I was surrounded by students that did not grow up during the war and one asked me why I wore your name bracelet. I told him that I did not want anyone to forget you and the 58,000 others that did their duty to this country. The sacrifices will not be forgotten. I wish you peace and restful sleep, for you are in good company.

Sgt. Greg De Simone
USAF 1970-1976

Notes from The Virtual Wall

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.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Patricia Mielke
12 Melinda Lane, Easthampton, Ma 01027

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 7 Aug 2003
Last updated 02/05/2008