KNOCHEL, CHARLES ALLEN

Name: Charles Allen Knochel
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 176, USS INTREPID (CVS-11)
Date of Birth: 12 February 1940 (Rensselaer IN)
Home City of Record: Lafayette IN
Date of Loss: 22 September 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 180958N 1063357E (XF470150)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H
Refno: 0467
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: Lt. Charles A. Knochel wa a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 176
onboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. On September 22, 1966, he
launched in his A1H Skyraider attack aircraft on an armed reconnaissance
mission in the southern part of North Vietnam.

Lt. Knochel was leading a two plane section of aircraft against enemy supply
lines. After completing their mission, both aircraft were on their way out
of the area and within 3 miles of the coast, when they were hit by a barrage
of anti-aircraft fire. Lt. Knochel radioed that his aircraft was hit in the
right wing and began to gain altitude and head out to sea. Once over the
water, the right wing started to burn as the ammunition from his wing guns
started to explode. Lt. Knochel radioed his wingman that he was going to
bail out.

All indications were that Lt. Knochel was not injured as he descended in his
parachute. Rescue helicopters and amphibian aircraft were immediately called
in for assistance. Lt. Knochel's parachute was swinging a bit as he entered
the water, and at a point when the parachute was at a maximum swing, he hit
the water as if lying on his back. The wingman saw that Knochel made no
effort to release himself from his chute harness or inflate his life
preserver, and felt that the impact had knocked him unconscious.

Within 12 minutes of the time that Knochel entered the water, the rescue
amphibian was on the scene. Upon landing, the chute could no longer be seen
and the rescue diver could not locate Lt. Knochel. It was believed he
drowned, unconscious.

Lt. Knochel had freedom and safety within his grasp when he lost his life
due to a tragically ironic accident. He is listed among the missing because
his body was never found to return to the country he served. For other
missing, however, there is no clear cut evidence of death - in fact, for
hundreds, there is evidence of survival.

The agony of dealing with a death is one horrible aspect of war. The agony
of uncertainty, reading daily of the thousands of reports relating to
Americans alive in Southeast Asia is another, but one that could be
prevented by bringing these men home and demanding a final accounting for
those who perished.