DIETSCH, CHARLES EDWARD Remains Returned, Identified 06/06/2001
Name: Charles Edward Dietsch Rank/Branch: W3/US Army Unit: 243rd Assault Helicopter Company, 10th Combat Aviation Battalion Date of Birth: 08 May 1922 (Avalon NY) Home City of Record: Mt. Dora FL Date of Loss: 20 October 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 122945N 1090753E (BP890830) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH47 Refno: 1306
Other Personnel In Incident: Jerry G. Bridges; Henry C. Knight; Charles H. Meldahl; Ronald V. Stanton (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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 2001.
SYNOPSIS: On October 20, 1968, CW3 Deitsch, aircraft commander; WO1 Knight, pilot; SP5 Meldahl, crewchief; SP4 Bridges, flight engineer; and SP4 Stanton, door gunner, departed Dong Ba Thien Airfield, South Vietnam, in a CH47A helicopter (serial #66-19053) on a resupply mission to Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam.
The CH47 "Chinook" helicopter was one of the workhorses of the Army's air fleet. As a cargo lift, the Chinook could carry up to 28,000 pounds on its external cargo hook, and is credited with the recovery of 11,500 disabled aircraft worth more than $3 billion. As troop carrier, the aircraft could be fitted with 24 litters for medical evacuation, or carry 33-44 troops in addition to the crew. On one occasion, a Chinook evacuated 147 refugees and their possessions on a single flight. The Chinook could be outfitted for bombing missions, dropping tear gas or napalm in locations fixed wing aircraft could not reach. The big bird could carry a large cargo of supplies.
Deitsch radioed at 0700 hours on October 20 that his aircraft was over the Ninh Hoa Valley. That was the last anyone heard of the CH47. At about 0800 hours, it was determined that the helicopter was overdue.
An intensive search effort was made, but no wreckage was ever found of the CH47, and search efforts were concluded on October 28. Villagers were later canvassed throughout the Ninh Ho Valley, and literature was distributed asking about the crash of the Chinook, but no new information was ever discovered.
Subject: SSG Jerry Glen Bridges Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 01:02:07 EDT From: JJffdvs@aol.com
Between 1984 and 1994,Vietnamese residents and refugees offered information and material evidence potentially linked with the crash. In 1994, the crash site was located and in 1995, during the 33rd Joint Field Activity, the site was excavated, yielding additional information. In October 2000, the investigation was completed and it determined that all members of the crew went down with the helicopter and did not survive the crash. SSG Jerry Glen Bridges remains have since been returned home. On June 10,2001 SSG Jerry Glen Bridges was finally layed to rest where he belongs in Giles County Memory Gardens. Home at last.
Subject: Deitsch, Charles Date: Wednesday, 6 June 2001 From AndrewsSat@aol.com
Charles Deitsch remains will be returned to the family on 6/20/01 and all of the crew was also identified through DNA.
At 1000 hrs, 20 June, 2001, beneath a clear Texas sky the remains of CWO-4 Charles "Pappy" Dietch were laid to rest at Restland Cemetary, Dallas, Texas. The services, held at graveside, was both a fitting statement for someone of Pappy's exemplary service to country as well as one that brought closure to the family.
The 4th Inf. Division, Ft. Hood, provided the burial detail and they performed flawlessly. The Chaplain, also from Ft. Hood, delivered a genuinely moving service stressing our need to honor both Pappy and God. And, when speaking of "Pap" he reminded us of his many "loves"; his family, the Army, flying, and the people he served with. As one who had the extreme pleasure of serving and flying with Pappy I can attest that truer words were never spoken. There were two company members at the service, Tony Alvarado (pilot) and me and we both got to speak with Mrs. Dietch, and the Chaplain, for some time. It was a memorable experience. I extended condolences from all I knew that knew of Pappy or 053, which she genuinely appreciated.
Then, for quite a few minutes, she and I exchanged some "Pappy stories". She also introduced me to her two sisters... they both, especially the oldest (91 yrs) are "keepers"!
The SSgt in charge of the detail stood at attention at the foot of the coffin for the length of the service... never blinking. At the end of the service he presented Mrs. Dietch with the flag with the traditional speech,
"On behalf of the president of the United States and a grateful Nation ...".
He then walked to the position of the first rifleman in the detail and gathered three spent brass which he gave to Mrs. Dietch, again speaking with her.
He then left, moving down the line of seated family, shaking the hands of each and returned to a position behind the canopy where Tony and I were standing ... he had a big ol' tear rolling down his right cheek. The "services" were over and someone standing near me commented, "does this get to you, Sgt?"
He replied, "Sir, when this doesn't get to me, I'll quit." A few minutes later the detail came back up to the gravesite and spoke to all, shaking the hands - even hugging, some of us vets... thanking us for paving the way.
They were all Artillery, Forward Observers. After Arlington and Dallas I'm proud to report, Sir, that we left the Army in capable hands.
In attendance were family, friends, two old Company members, and various Viet Vets including three from the Viet Vets Motorcycle Club. And we all walked away feeling better; we'd shed a few tears but with a smile on our faces. The Old Chief thinks that even Pappy would have been proud... and the Good Lord knows that we were proud to have known Pappy.
I was there when the aircraft was rolled out that morning. I was there when Pappy and Mr. Knight showed up. Someone commented that the weather was too bad: and Pap replied "people are dying out there, we need to fly!"
I was also there listening against hope for rotor beats from the north. Wanting, praying, for one more bird to come home. When I think of 053 I think of the Bible. John 15:13. Greater love hath no man this, that a man lay down is life for his friends. Is that not the legacy of 053? Or a lot of the folks we've known?