ROWLEY, CHARLES STODDARD
Remains returned and identified September 1995. ID Disputed
Name: Charles Stoddard Rowley Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force Unit: 16th Special Operations Squadron, Ubon Airbase, Thailand Date of Birth: 14 May 1931 Home City of Record: Riverton CT Date of Loss: 22 April 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 154400N 1065100E (XC990410) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: AC130A
Other Personnel in Incident: Ronnie Hensley; Robert Ireland; Stephen Harris; Donald Lint; William Brooks; Charles B. Davis; Donald G. Fisher; John C. Towle; Thomas Adachi (all missing); Eugene L. Fields (rescued).
Source: Compiled 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.
SYNOPSIS: In the early hours of April 22, 1970, an AC130 gunship flown by veteran pilot Major William Brooks departed Ubon Airbase with a crew of ten for a Commando Hunt mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southern Laos. The aircraft, code named "Ad Lib", was joined near its destination by two jet escort fighter bombers, code named "Killer 1" and "Killer 2", and immediately began air strikes against enemy traffic below. The crew of the aircraft included Brooks, the pilot; SSgt. Thomas Y. Adachi, the aerial gunner; LtCol. Charlie B. Davis, a navigator; Maj. Donald G. Fisher, a navigator; SSgt. Stephen W. Harris; SSgt. Ronnie L. Hensley; Master Sgt. Robert N. Ireland; Airman Donald M. Lint; LtCol. Charles S. Rowley; and 1Lt. John C. Towle.
During its fourth strike, the gunship was hit by anti-aircraft fire and began burning. Brooks radioed, "I've been hit, babe". Fisher, the navigator, reported that his position was OK. Fields and Hensley, battling the blaze in the rear of the aircraft, lost contact with each other in the smoke. Fields inched his way to Adachi's position, and found Adachi gone and the left scanner window open. Fields used an auxiliary parachute to abandon the aircraft.
Killer 1 reported seeing no parachutes, although Killer 2 reported the crew was bailing out. Just before Killer 1 departed the area for refueling, it received one emergency beeper signal from the ground. Killer 2 established voice contact with a member of the crew identifying himself as Ad-Lib 12 (Fisher), who reported that he had burns on his face and hands. Killer 2 also left for refueling, while other aircraft monitored the downed craft and waited for morning to attempt rescue of the survivors.
The following morning, Ad-Lib 11 (Fields) was rescued, but due to hostile ground forces, no ground search or photographs were made at the time. The Air Force assumed at the time that Fields had incorrectly identified himself, and announced that 6 of the crew had been killed and four were missing.
The rest of the story is confusing. The family of one of the crew was told that a ground crew had been inserted and that partial remains of one crew member had been recovered. Another family was advised that photographs of the crashsite existed. A photograph of a captive airman having burn bandages on his hands was identified as being Fisher by his family. Rowley's family was informed of a secret intelligence report indicating that 8 of the crew had been captured, and that a controlled American source had witnessed them being tortured to death for their "crimes".
A returned POW reported seeing Rowley in a propaganda film. Another returned POW stated that Fisher had been a POW. Although the Air Force would not allow family members to contact the only survivor, Fields, Fisher's son located him after 18 years. Fisher denied ever being in contact with any of the Killer jet escorts. It was not he who identified himself by radio to rescue forces.
Apparently, at least some of the crew of Ad Lib survived to be captured in Laos, often called the "Black Hole" of the POW issue because of nearly 600 lost there, not a SINGLE man was released that had been held in Laos. The Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held prisoners, yet we never negotiated their freedom, and reports continue to be received that some of these men are still alive. The surviving crew members lost that day were abandoned by the country for which they bravely fought.
[up1003b.95 10/09/95] UPn 10/03 1995 Vet finds solace in MIA return By WILLIAM D. MURRAY
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- For the last 25 years, Gene Fields has pondered the fate of his crew mates aboard a AC-130A that plummeted from the skies in flames over Laos in 1970.
He remembers the fresh faces of 19-year-olds assigned to him in his role as a gunnery instructor. He remembers their laughter, their thoughts and their dreams.....
[bits1104.95 11/04/95] NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES FOR THE RETURN OF AMERICA'S MISSING SERVICEMEN WORLD WAR II - KOREA - COLD WAR - VIETNAM
DOLORES ALFOND - VOICE/FAX (206) 881 1499 LYNN O'SHEA ---- VOICE/FAX (718) 846-4350
BITS 'N' PIECES NOVEMBER 4, 1995
THANKS TO SENATOR BOB SMITH - FROM THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, BOB SMITH SPOKE FOR TWO HOURS ON BEHALF OF OUR KOREAN AND VIETNAM ERA POW/MIAS. SENATOR SMITH OUTLINED THE FAILURES OF THE DPMO AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH IN DEALING WITH THE POW ISSUE. ONCE AGAIN, SENATOR SMITH PROVIDED A POWERFUL VOICE FOR THOSE WHO CAN NOT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE A UNITED STATES SENATOR WHO PUTS MORALITY AHEAD OF PROFIT. WE ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE OF SENATOR SMITH AND HIS STAFF'S EFFORTS ON BEHALF OF OUR PO W/MIAS.
IN OUR BITS 'N' PIECES, DATED OCTOBER 28TH, WE LISTED THE NAMES OF MISSING AMERICAN SERVICEMEN RECENTLY IDENTIFIED BY THE PENTAGON. WE ALSO DISCUSSED INTELLIGENCE REPORTS THAT PUT INTO QUESTION THOSE IDENTIFICATIONS. WE CLOSED BY SAYING THAT WE HOPED EACH OF THE FAMILIES INVOLVED HAD GOTTEN THEIR TRUTH, BUT WE WONDERED.
THE FAX MACHINES HAD NOT COOLED DOWN, WHEN WE LEARNED HOW DISPLEASED THE FAMILIES OF 5 CREWMEN LOST APRIL 22, 1970 ARE. PATRICIA ROWLEY HALLMAN, DAUGHTER OF COL. CHARLES ROWLEY NOTIFIED THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES THAT THERE WERE NO INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE REMAINS RECOVERED DURING THE EXCAVATION. THE FAMILIES' REQUEST FOR DNA TESTING WAS REFUSED. ALSO, REFUSED WAS A REQUEST FOR AN INDEPENDENT EXAMINATION OF THE REMAINS.
A PRESS RELEASE, ISSUED OCT. 31ST, BY THE FAMILIES OF COL. CHARLES ROWLEY, COL. CHARLIE DAVIS, COL. WILLIAM BROOKS AND SGT. RONNIE HENSLEY (SEE PAGE 4) CALLED FOR A HALT TO THE PLANNED "BURIAL" SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 8TH AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY. A FIFTH FAMILY REFUSES TO ALLOW THEIR LOVED ONES' NAME TO BE PLACED ON THE STONE AND WILL NOT ATTEND THE "BURIAL."
DOCUMENTS PROVIDED TO THE ALLIANCE, BY MS. ROWLEY-HALLMAN, PROVE BEYOND DOUBT THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS NO EVIDENCE THAT TEN MEN DIED IN THIS INCIDENT. FORENSIC EVIDENCE PROVIDED TO THE FAMILIES INDICATES THE POSSIBILITY THAT ONLY ONE MAN WAS ON THAT PLANE WHEN IT CRASHED.
MESSAGE TRAFFIC, DATED 10 NOV. 93, REFERS TO THIS CASE AND THE A-130 CRASH INVOLVING MAJOR PETER MATTHES, (AIR FORCE AUTHENTICATOR CODE (GX2527 - LAST SEEN IN THE EARLY 1990'S OUTSIDE A VIETNAMESE PRISON.) THE MESSAGE STATES "WE ANTICIPATE SOME INDIVIDUAL IDENTIFICATIONS MAY BE POSSIBLE. HOWEVER, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT WE CAN BIOLOGICALLY ESTABLISH THAT ALL AIRMEN FOR EACH INCIDENT ARE REPRESENTED IN THE REMAINS RECOVERED FROM THE RESPECTIVE SITES." OF THE 18 MEN INVOLVED IN THE TWO INCIDENTS, ONLY ON E WAS IDENTIFIED INDIVIDUALLY.
PICKING UP ON THE STORY REUTERS REPORTED, ON OCTOBER 31ST - "A PENTAGON OFFICIAL SAID....GROUP BURIALS WERE COMMONLY RESORTED TO WHEN "HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND INTELLIGENCE" DATA SUGGESTED AN ENTIRE CREW MAY HAVE DIED IN A CRASH, EVEN THOUGH NO ONE COULD BE IDENTIFIED."
Gold Star awarded daughter of aviator lost in Laos by Mathew Paust Daily Press
November 12, 2002
SALUDA -- Patti Rowley Sayles would love to be able to return the Gold Star lapel button she received Monday in a Veterans Day ceremony at Saluda.
It would mean that her father, Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Stoddard Rowley Sr., whose airplane was shot down over Laos on April 22, 1970, and who is officially presumed dead, is actually still alive.....
Mathew Paust can be reached at 804-642-1738 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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