READ, CHARLES HAROLD W. JR. Name: Charles Harold W. Read, Jr. Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Date of Birth: 03 February 1929 Home City of Record: Miami FL Date of Loss: 24 August 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174000N 1062400E (XE456547) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1262 Other Personnel in Incident: Melvin E. Ladewig (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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. Maj. Charles H.W. Read Jr. was the pilot and 1Lt. Melvin E. Ladewig the Weapons Systems Officer onboard an F4D from the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Udorn, Thailand. On August 24, 1968, they were the crew of the number 2 aircraft in a flight of two assigned an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. As the flight was over Quang Binh province about 10 miles southwest of the city of Quang Khe, a bombing run was made and afterwards, Read's aircraft was seen as a large fireball on the ground by the pilots of the lead aircraft. They reported no radio contact with either pilot prior to the crash, nor did they see parachutes or hear any emergency radio beeper signals to indicate Read and Ladewig ejected from the aircraft prior to its crashing. However, Ladewig and Read were not declared dead, so the possibility existed that they safely left the aircraft. Both were listed Missing in Action. Since the war ended, the Defense Department has received over 10,000 reports relating to the men still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, yet concludes that no actionable evidence has been received that would indicate Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. A recent Senate investigation indicates that most of these reports were dismissed without just cause, and that there is every indication that Americans remained in captivity far after the war ended, and may be alive today. It's time we learned the truth about our missing and brought them home.