BEALS, CHARLES ELBERT
Name: Charles Elbert Beals
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company D, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 27 September 1949 (Union City IN)
Home City of Record: French Lick IN
Date of Loss: 07 July 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162643N 107114E (YD335193)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Lewis Howard (missing)
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 in 2020.
SYNOPSIS: On July 7, 1970, SP4 Lewis Howard, point man, and PFC Charles E.
Beals, assistant machine gunner, were members of Company D, 2nd Battalion,
506th Infantry when their platoon was engaged in a fire fight in South
Vietnam. Their position at that time was in Thua Thien Province, near the
border of Quang Tri Province to the north.
As the platoon was advancing uphill on a suspected enemy location, an
unknown enemy force fired at least 3 rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) at the
point element. The platoon leader saw that Howard was hit by the first
round. Beals was wounded in the leg when the enemy first opened fire,
however, before he could be moved to cover, he was hit by at least 3 rounds
of machine gun fire in the back and the neck.
Attempts to maneuver up to the point position to retrieve Beals and Howard
met with heavy enemy attack, and the rest of the platoon were forced to
withdraw, leaving the two men behind.
After 6 hours, the enemy was still firing machine gun and rifle fire over
the area. The intense enemy fire made any further attempts to recover Beals
and Howard impossible, and the platoon withdrew from the area.
Beals was thought to be dead because of the number of rounds that hit him.
He was classified Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. The extent of
Howard's wounds were unknown, and he was classified Missing In Action. There
is a strong probability that the enemy knows the fate of both men. If they
survived, it is very likely that they were captured.
Nearly 2500 Americans remain missing, prisoner or unaccounted for from the
Vietnam war. Since American involvement in the war ended in 1975, almost
10,000 reports have been received by the U.S. Government relating to the
missing. Most authorities believe there are hundreds of them still alive.
Whether Beals and Howard survived to be captured that day in July 1970 is
not known. What seems certain, however, is that we must bring home any
Americans being held against their will.