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.


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

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


Subject: SSG Jerry Glen Bridges
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 01:02:07 EDT

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

Charles Deitsch r4emains will be returned to the family on 6/20/01 and all
of the crew was also identified through DNA.





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On November 13, 2000, Joint Task Force–Full Accounting (JTF-FA, now DPAA) identified the remains of Staff Sergeant Charles Howard Meldahl, missing from the Vietnam War.

Staff Sergeant Meldahl entered the U.S. Army from Washington and served with the 243rd Assault Helicopter Company, 10th Combat Aviation Battalion. On October 20, 1968, he was the crew chief aboard a CH-47A Chinook (tail number 66-19053, call sign "Freight Train 53") that took off from Dong Ba Thien Airfield, South Vietnam, on a resupply mission to Ban Me Thuot. While over the Ninh Hoa Valley, the helicopter crashed for unknown reasons, killing SSG Meldahl. His body could not be recovered at the time. The crash site was eventually located in Khan Hoa Province and in 1995, a U.S. investigative team recovered human remains that analysts were able to identify as those of SSG Meldahl. 

Staff Sergeant Meldahl is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.