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.


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

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

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.




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On August 24, 1968, an F-4 Phantom II (tail number 66-8694, call sign "Agile 2") with two crew members took off as the second in a flight of two aircraft on an armed night reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. After the lead aircraft dropped flares on the target, "Agile 2" made a bomb run. Seconds later, the lead aircraft's crew saw a fireball about a mile northwest of the target, in the vicinity of (GC) XE 456 547, and could not make radio contact with "Agile 2." The lead aircraft saw no parachutes and heard no rescue beepers, and immediately called for search and rescue (SAR) teams. The SAR effort was unable to locate a crash site or the missing crew members.

Major (Maj) Charles Harold Wickliff Read Jr., who joined the U.S. Air Force from Florida, served with the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was the aircraft commander aboard "Agile 2" when it was lost, and his remains were not recovered. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Air Force promoted Maj Read to the rank of Colonel (Col). Today, Colonel Read is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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