MELDAHL, CHARLES HOWARD Remains Identified 06/06/2001
Name: Charles Howard Meldahl Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Unit: 243rd Assault Helicopter Company, 10th Combat Aviation Battalion Date of Birth: 15 July 1948 (Denver CO) Home City of Record: Monroe WA Date of Loss: 20 October 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 122945N 1090753E (BP890830) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH47 Refno: 1306
Other Personnel In Incident: Charles E. Deitsch; Henry C. Knight; Jerry G. Bridges; Ronald V. Stanton (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 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 2001.
SYNOPSIS: On October 20, 1968, CW3 Deitsch, aircraft commander; WO1 Knight, pilot; SP5 Meldahl, crewchief; SP4 Bridges, flight engineer; and SP4 Stanton, door gunner, departed Dong Ba Thien Airfield, South Vietnam, in a CH47A helicopter (serial #66-19053) on a resupply mission to Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam.
The CH47 "Chinook" helicopter was one of the workhorses of the Army's air fleet. As a cargo lift, the Chinook could carry up to 28,000 pounds on its external cargo hook, and is credited with the recovery of 11,500 disabled aircraft worth more than $3 billion. As troop carrier, the aircraft could be fitted with 24 litters for medical evacuation, or carry 33-44 troops in addition to the crew. On one occasion, a Chinook evacuated 147 refugees and their possessions on a single flight. The Chinook could be outfitted for bombing missions, dropping tear gas or napalm in locations fixed wing aircraft could not reach. The big bird could carry a large cargo of supplies.
Deitsch radioed at 0700 hours on October 20 that his aircraft was over the Ninh Hoa Valley. That was the last anyone heard of the CH47. At about 0800 hours, it was determined that the helicopter was overdue.
An intensive search effort was made, but no wreckage was ever found of the CH47, and search efforts were concluded on October 28. Villagers were later canvassed throughout the Ninh Ho Valley, and literature was distributed asking about the crash of the Chinook, but no new information was ever discovered.
Subject: SSG Jerry Glen Bridges Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 01:02:07 EDT From: JJffdvs@aol.com
Between 1984 and 1994,Vietnamese residents and refugees offered information and material evidence potentially linked with the crash. In 1994, the crash site was located and in 1995, during the 33rd Joint Field Activity, the site was excavated, yielding additional information. In October 2000, the investigation was completed and it determined that all members of the crew went down with the helicopter and did not survive the crash. SSG Jerry Glen Bridges remains have since been returned home. On June 10,2001 SSG Jerry Glen Bridges was finally layed to rest where he belongs in Giles County Memory Gardens. Home at last.
Subject: Deitsch, Charles Date: Wednesday, 6 June 2001 From AndrewsSat@aol.com
Charles Deitsch r4emains will be returned to the family on 6/20/01 and all of the crew was also identified through DNA.