DALE, CHARLES ALVA Name: Charles Alva Dale Rank/Branch: 02/US Army Unit: 73rd Aviation Company, 765th Transportation Battalion Date of Birth: 05 May 1937 (Churchill TN) Home City of Record: Phoenix AZ Date of Loss: 09 June 1965 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 093514N 1062201E (XR035296) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 1 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1C Refno: 0094 Other Personnel In Incident: David S. Demmon (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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: DISAPPEARED OVER VINH BIHN SYNOPSIS: At 0317 hours on June 9, 1965, 1Lt. Charles A. Dale, pilot; and SP4 David S. Demmon, electronic sensor operator, departed Vung Tau in an OV1C (serial #61-2687) on a mission. The nature of the mission is not included in public record, but was undoubtedly a standard battlefield surveillance mission, or, as the 765th Transportation Battalion was primarily aircraft maintenance and support, it might have been a test of equipment onboard the aircraft. The OV1C maintained surveillance using infrared detection equipment and a forward-aimed camera (which proved especially useful since the Viet Cong relied heavily on darkness to conceal their activities). Standard proceedure for the OV1C was to periodically fly over a known location to update the navigation computer. One such update, about 87 minutes after takeoff placed Dale and Demmon over Vung Tau. At this time, he was headed to a second mission area in Vinh Binh Province, South Vietnam. Somewhere over the U Minh forest, the aircraft was shot down. Search and rescue forces sighted two men wading out of the water and the Viet Cong capturing them, but positive identification was prevented by weather. However, Demmon and Dale were the only two Americans shot down that dayu. Dale was declared Missing in Action, while Demmon was classified Prisoner of War. It was felt that the enemy knew the fates of both men, alive or dead. Reports relating to Dale and Demmon were received as late as 1970, both together and separately. Both men were seen alive by intelligence sources in the hands of the Viet Cong. One defector provided the phoenetic name "Phyan De Mann", which translates to "Family name of De Manh" (possibly meaning "Demmon"). In 1971, Demmon was seen alive in captivity. A Viet Cong guard, who stated that he had guarded American POWs from September to December 1965, stated he saw two men he believed to be Demmon and Dale in his camp. The families of both men believed they were captured, and eagerly awaited their release at the end of the war. When the war ended, however, and 591 Americans were released from communist prisons in Souteast Aisa, Dale and Demmon were not among them. The Vietnamese never acknowledged their existence, nor did their names appear on lists provided by the Vietnamese of prisoners who had died in captivity. In 1987, evidence of a large number of Americans being held in China began to surface in the private sector. It was said that these Americans were the "property" of a number of pro-China Vietnamese officials who had fled Vietnam in the wake of a stronger national sympathy to the Soviet Union. Charles Alva Dale, it was said, was serving as a houseboy to one of these officials. The reports could not be verified. Dale and Demmon's families still wonder where they are. They don't know whether to hope they died that day in June 1965, or to hope they survived, and are alive still. If they survived, what must they have gone through? And what must they think of the country they so proudly served? Charles A. Dale was promoted to the rank of Major and Demmon to the rank of Staff Sergeant during the period they were maintained Missing and Prisoner.