DUKE, CHARLES ROSS JR.
Name: Charles Ross Duke, Jr.
Unit: Dynalectron Corporation
Date of Birth: 03 December 1943
Home City of Record:
Date of Loss: 30 May 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 135710N 1071757E (AR775365)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Kit T. Mark (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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.
SYNOPSIS: On Memorial Day weekend, 1970, Charles Duke and his friend, Kit T.
Mark reportedly left Pleiku, South Vietnam on their Hondas for a short trip
to a village nine miles north of Pleiku. They never returned.
A friendly helicopter in the area saw the two on Hondas, and the tire tracks
of two Hondas leading to a mountainside location where they found concealed
rockets pointing to the military base at Pleiku. Leaflets offering a reward
for any information were dropped, but no information surfaced about Mark or
Although Duke and Mark were originally listed as being missing seven days
apart, their records were changed to reflect the accurate date of May 30,
Charles Duke was born in Houston, Texas. He served four years in the Air
Force as an airplane mechanic. After his discharge, he went to work for
Dynalectron Corporation working on jets and helicopters. In August, 1968, he
went to Pleiku to work for Dynalectron's war contracts. Charles planned to
return to school after he returned from Vietnam.
Charles Duke and Kit Mark were not among the prisoners of war that were
released in 1973. High-ranking U.S. officials admit their dismay that
"hundreds" of Americans known or suspected to be prisoners of war did not
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as
prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs"
from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in
Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Duke and Mark could be among them.
Isn't it time we brought our men home?
Provided by Jane Duke Gaylor
1941 Courtland Dr.
Kent, OH 44240-4611
"KQ" "KEN" is Ken Quinn (?)
"Ann" Ann Mills Griffiths
[stamped] DECLASSIFIED SECRET ATTACHMENT O-4
Declassified 6/7/95 Release Declassify
Charles Duke and Kit Mark were civilian technicians last seen June 1, l970,
the day before Duke was scheduled to leave country, taking their motorbikes
out of Pleiku town to a destination seven miles distant. Searches and
leaflet drops turned up nothing.
DIA considers this an "off-the-scope" case, for there is no evidence of
capture or death other than one or two subsequent hearsay reports of the
execution and remains of Americans who could have been Duke and Mark.
As far as I can tell, there has been no follow up since the war. There are
two reasons for this: 1) the lack of leads, and 2) it is not a discrepancy
case. Duke's mother Mrs. Gaylor is frustrated, fundamentally by the
uncertainty and the loss of her son, but also by USG inactivity. I met her
at the League's annual meeting and when she was in town last fall, just
after a she had seen Senator Dole. She calls fairly frequently and is always
very nice. She has also been in touch with the Senate Select Committee, and
she told me this week she had just returned from a rally in Texas with Bo
Gritz and other such luminaries.
On various occasions I have mentioned to DOD staff my personal view that we
should give cases like this, where there is no good evidence of death, an
investigative priority higher than KIA/BNR cases, and -- especially when
there is some additional reason -- putting them just a notch below the 135
discrepancy cases. The Hanoi office could follow up on its own or append the
case to joint activities, which no longer focus exclusively on discrepancy
cases. As things now stand, however, these cases -- and the Duke/Mark one in
particular are just lumped into all the other 2100-plus non-discrepancy
Last November, after my meeting with Mrs. Gaylor (but before we ascertained
the details of Bill Bell's testimony) I raised her son's case at an JAG. As
I recall, Ken seconded Ann's remark that we should not give special
treatment just because a family member is active. (I disagree. Everything
else being equal, I think those cases where the NOK are still emotionally
involved warrant extra attention. our actions - or lack thereof -- affect
their lives much more than the NOK who have put the past behind them.
Anyway, Adm. McDevitt said he would instruct the Hanoi office to look into
it, but I don't know as anything ever came of that.
As you recall, family photo identifications got us very active last summer
on the case of Col. Robertson, whose death we had previously "confirmed",
and Cpt. Carr, who like Duke was an "off-tbe-scope" non-discrepancy case. We
now have similar circumstances for the Duke case.
As you will also recall, Bill Bell told the Senate Select Committee behind
closed doors last fall that in his view perhaps 10 Americans were left
behind after Operation Homecoming. We have never been able to get access to
that testimony. Mrs. Gaylor told me that she had heard that Bell named her
son as one of the ten. I prodded DOD into sending a cable asking Bell about
this. The attached cable response says Bell told the Committee he identified
Duke and Mark (plus one missing soldier) from a composite sketch based on
the morticians descriptions of Westerners he saw in Hanoi.
Even though DIA discredits Bell's testimony in the attached cable of
December 17, a positive identification by the former head of the Hanoi
office, combined with the absence of any evidence of death, is in my view
reason enough to give the case some priority attention. DOD staff tell me in
informal discussions that if this is to be State's view, it will have to be
communicated at a higher level.
I recommend that Ken mention it at the next JAG. If that fails, he could
send a memo we would draft. It is my understanding that a joint activity may
soon take place in the Central Highlands where Duke and Mark disappeared.
SEVLC 3361, pll9-120
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES
FOR THE RETURN OF AMERICAS MISSING SERVICEMEN
WORLD WAR II - KOREA - COLD WAR - VIETNAM
BITS 'N' PIECES JULY 29, 1995
STRANGE INCIDENT REPORT - ON FRIDAY EVENING JANE DUKE GAYLOR RECEIVED
A CALL FROM GENERAL WOLD ASKING THAT SHE MEET HIM IN THE LOBBY OF THE
SHERATON HOTEL. JANE, WHO IS IN A WHEEL CHAIR ON OXYGEN AND
RECOVERING FROM CATARACT SURGERY, AGREED. ACCOMPANIED BY HER NIECE
AND NEPHEW THEY WENT TO THE LOBBY AND SAW GEN. WOLD AND FIVE DPMO
OFFICIALS ENTERING, BARELY 4 MINUTES (ACCORDING TO HER NEPHEW) AFTER
THE CALL WAS RECEIVED. JANE'S NIECE AND NEPHEW WERE IMMEDIATELY ASKED
TO LEAVE. THEY WERE TOLD THAT JANE WAS ABOUT TO SEE CLASSIFIED
INFORMATION AND THAT SHE WOULD HAVE TO SIGN A "SECRECY AGREEMENT"
STATING SHE WOULD NOT DISCUSS THE INFORMATION.
JANE'S NIECE AND NEPHEW RETREATED TO THE LOUNGE AREA, WHICH WAS
SEPARATED FROM THE LOBBY BY A GLASS DIVIDER. THERE ALONG WITH OTHER
FAMILY MEMBERS AND ACTIVISTS, THEY WATCHED THE STRANGE GOINGS ON.
FROM WHAT WAS OBSERVED, GENERAL WOLD PRODUCED A RING BINDER BOOK AND
PROCEEDED TO FLIP THROUGH PAGES. THERE WAS A LOT OF HEAD SHAKING.
AN AIDE TO CONGRESSMAN DORNAN, ATTENDING THE FORUM WAS NOTIFIED AND HE
IMMEDIATELY APPROACHED THE GROUP TO INQUIRE IF JANE NEEDED ASSISTANCE.
JANE ASSURED HIM EVERYTHING WAS FINE AND HE LEFT THE GROUP. SOON
AFTER THE CONGRESSIONAL AIDE LEFT THE THE USG GOON SQUAD DISAPPEARED.
ACCORDING TO JANE DUKE GAYLOR - THEY PRODUCED A PHOTO OF HANOI, WHICH
ACCORDING TO JANE COULD HAVE BEEN DOWNTOWN DALLAS, AS SHE CAN NOT SEE.
THEY INSISTED SHE SIGN A "SECRECY AGREEMENT." SHE REFUSED AND THEY LEFT.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? SINCE WHEN IS CLASSIFIED MATERIAL
PRESENTED FOR VIEWING IN A HOTEL LOBBY? JANE REPEATEDLY REQUESTS
INFORMATION REGARDING HER SON, WHY WAS IT AT THIS MOMENT IN A HOTEL
LOBBY THAT DPMO DECIDED TO PRESENT CLASSIFIED INFORMATION? COULD IT
HAVE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE FIRST PUBLIC STATEMENT OF THE
"MORTICIAN." YOU DECIDE...............
On August 29, 1999, Jane Duke-Gaylor passed away after a long illness. Her
search for her son "Bubba" and the information surrounding his incident was
pursued from a wheelchair, but it never held her back. She traveled to
Vietnam at 72 years of age, was arrested in Washington DC, was a vocal
advocate at yearly meetings, many times while ill or after surgery.
She has the answers she sought, and finally, peace.
The Strange Disappearance of Two American Technicians From Vietnam's Central Highlands
April 2002 Issue
After Charles R. Duke and Kit T. Mark disappeared in Pleiku Province, Vietnam on 30 May 1970, there were few leads to follow. Rather than casualties lost on the bloody battlefields of Vietnam's Central Highlands, both men were "civilian" aircraft technicians who had been "discharged" from the military and hired as civilian employees by the Dynaelectron Corporation. Instead of being dressed in jungle fatigues and laden with hand grenades and ammunition after being inserted into a combat area by venerable "Huey" gun ships, both men were wearing civilian clothing while pleasure riding on motorcycles at the time they became missing.
After initiating only a cursory investigation and with no evidence proving Duke and Mark alive or dead, the U.S. military placed their incident folder on the bottom of the stack and dismissed it to an inactive status. The Defense Prisoner of War and Missing-in-Action Office (DPMO) confirmed the "inactive" categorization in its recent "Comprehensive Review" released to Congress....