CRAFTS, CHARLES E.
RIP 30 Oct 2018
Name: Charles E. Crafts
Rank/Branch: E2/US Army
Date of Birth: 11 August 1942
Home City of Record: North Jay ME
Date of Loss: 29 December 1964
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 103740N 1071950E (YS549755)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel In Incident: Harold G. Bennett (captured/executed)
REMARKS: 670207 RELEASED
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 2018.
SYNOPSIS: Harold Bennett and Charles Crafts were MACV advisors to an ARVN
unit operating in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. A native of Maine,
Crafts had been in country about 1 month.
On the afternoon of December 29, 1964, Bennett, Crafts and their ARVN unit
made contact with Viet Cong guerrillas and the unit engaged in a firefight.
During the firefight, both were taken prisoner.
By early 1965, Crafts and Bennett joined other prisoners held by the Viet
Cong. Those who returned supplied information on the fates of those who did
not. In late spring, 1965, Bennett began to refuse food. This was not an
uncommon occurrence among prisoners suffering dysentery, malnutrition,
malaise, injury and other ills that were common among prisoners of war in
the South. Normally, the other prisoners worked hard to prevent further
illness by forcing food on the POW who refused food, provided the sick man
was not isolated. Returned POWs report the death of several men from the
cycle of illness-refusal to eat- depression-starvation.
Bennett apparently did not die of starvaton, however. The Vietnamese
National Liberation Front (NLF) announced on Radio Hanoi on June 24, 1965
that Bennett had been shot in retaliation for Viet Cong terrorist Tran Van
Dong's execution by South Vietnam. He was the first POW to be executed in
When the war ended in 1973, the Vietnamese listed Bennett as having died in
captivity. They did not return his remains. He is one of nearly 2400
Americans still missing in Southeast Asia. Many, like Bennett did not
survive. But experts now say, based on thousands of reports received, that
hundreds are still alive.
We, as Americans had no say in the death of Harold Bennett. We do, however,
have the power to prevent the deaths of the hundreds still alive. If we do
nothing, we will be guilty of their deaths. We must bring them home, while
there is still time.
Charles Crafts resided in Maine until his death.
It is my sad duty to report a dear friend, patriot and truly a hero for his stand in Vietnam,
has gone West...
Charlie Crafts, US Army, who was captured in 1964 and released three years later
with a second POW, died 30 October 2018.
Charlie was as good as they come. I had the pleasure of attending his award
ceremony for the Silver Star, 40+ years after he earned it. The Colonel who
tried to save him was there to present it to him. LH