CUDLIKE, CHARLES JOSEPH
Name: Charles Joseph Cudlike
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry (Airmobile), 101st Airborne
Date of Birth: 16 August 1948
Home City of Record: Detroit MI
Date of Loss: 18 May 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161431N 1071039E (YC312992)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none 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 May 18, 1969, SP4 Charles J. Cudlike and his unit were engaged
in battle in Thua Tien Province, South Vietnam. During the fighting, Cudlike
was injured, and was being medically evacuated from the battle area by
The injured teammebers were boarding the helicopter when it had to leave
quickly because of a heavy volume of enemy fire. At this time, Cudlike had
been unable to completely board the aircraft, and was hanging on one of the
skids of the helicopter and the door gunner aboard the helicopter was trying
to pull him into the ship. Due to his own wounds, the gunner was unable to
pull him in.
When the pilot of the helicopter became aware of the situation he started
looking for a place to land, but before he could do so, Cudlike fell from
the aircraft at an altitude of 500 feet into the jungle.
Comprehensive searches were conducted by air with no success. Cudlike was
declared Killed in Action, and his body was never recovered.
War is hell. Men are killed by other men whom they call their enemy. But men
are also killed by "misadventure" - by senseless drowning, falls, and by
being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At 21, Charles Cudlike had just
begun to live.
Because no trace of Cudlike's remains were found, his name is maintained
among those who are missing and captured in Southeast Asia. Experts believe
that hundreds of these Americans are still alive, captive, and want to come
home. One can imagine that Cudlike would gladly serve on one more patrol to
help bring them home.