ROWLEY, CHARLES STODDARD
Remains returned and identified September 1995. ID Disputed
Name: Charles Stoddard Rowley
Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force
Unit: 16th Special Operations Squadron, Ubon Airbase, Thailand
Date of Birth: 14 May 1931
Home City of Record: Riverton CT
Date of Loss: 22 April 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 154400N 1065100E (XC990410)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Ronnie Hensley; Robert Ireland; Stephen Harris;
Donald Lint; William Brooks; Charles B. Davis; Donald G. Fisher; John C.
Towle; Thomas Adachi (all missing); Eugene L. Fields (rescued).
Source: Compiled 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. 2018
SYNOPSIS: In the early hours of April 22, 1970, an AC130 gunship flown by
veteran pilot Major William Brooks departed Ubon Airbase with a crew of ten
for a Commando Hunt mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southern Laos. The
aircraft, code named "Ad Lib", was joined near its destination by two jet
escort fighter bombers, code named "Killer 1" and "Killer 2", and
immediately began air strikes against enemy traffic below. The crew of the
aircraft included Brooks, the pilot; SSgt. Thomas Y. Adachi, the aerial
gunner; LtCol. Charlie B. Davis, a navigator; Maj. Donald G. Fisher, a
navigator; SSgt. Stephen W. Harris; SSgt. Ronnie L. Hensley; Master Sgt.
Robert N. Ireland; Airman Donald M. Lint; LtCol. Charles S. Rowley; and 1Lt.
John C. Towle.
During its fourth strike, the gunship was hit by anti-aircraft fire and
began burning. Brooks radioed, "I've been hit, babe". Fisher, the navigator,
reported that his position was OK. Fields and Hensley, battling the blaze in
the rear of the aircraft, lost contact with each other in the smoke. Fields
inched his way to Adachi's position, and found Adachi gone and the left
scanner window open. Fields used an auxiliary parachute to abandon the
Killer 1 reported seeing no parachutes, although Killer 2 reported the crew
was bailing out. Just before Killer 1 departed the area for refueling, it
received one emergency beeper signal from the ground. Killer 2 established
voice contact with a member of the crew identifying himself as Ad-Lib 12
(Fisher), who reported that he had burns on his face and hands. Killer 2
also left for refueling, while other aircraft monitored the downed craft and
waited for morning to attempt rescue of the survivors.
The following morning, Ad-Lib 11 (Fields) was rescued, but due to hostile
ground forces, no ground search or photographs were made at the time. The
Air Force assumed at the time that Fields had incorrectly identified
himself, and announced that 6 of the crew had been killed and four were
The rest of the story is confusing. The family of one of the crew was told
that a ground crew had been inserted and that partial remains of one crew
member had been recovered. Another family was advised that photographs of
the crashsite existed. A photograph of a captive airman having burn bandages
on his hands was identified as being Fisher by his family. Rowley's family
was informed of a secret intelligence report indicating that 8 of the crew
had been captured, and that a controlled American source had witnessed them
being tortured to death for their "crimes".
A returned POW reported seeing Rowley in a propaganda film. Another returned
POW stated that Fisher had been a POW. Although the Air Force would not
allow family members to contact the only survivor, Fields, Fisher's son
located him after 18 years. Fisher denied ever being in contact with any of
the Killer jet escorts. It was not he who identified himself by radio to
Apparently, at least some of the crew of Ad Lib survived to be captured in
Laos, often called the "Black Hole" of the POW issue because of nearly 600
lost there, not a SINGLE man was released that had been held in Laos. The
Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held prisoners, yet we
never negotiated their freedom, and reports continue to be received that
some of these men are still alive. The surviving crew members lost that day
were abandoned by the country for which they bravely fought.
[up1003b.95 10/09/95] UPn
Vet finds solace in MIA return
By WILLIAM D. MURRAY
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- For the last 25 years, Gene Fields has
pondered the fate of his crew mates aboard a AC-130A that plummeted from the
skies in flames over Laos in 1970.
He remembers the fresh faces of 19-year-olds assigned to him in his role as
a gunnery instructor. He remembers their laughter, their thoughts and their
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES
FOR THE RETURN OF AMERICA'S MISSING SERVICEMEN
WORLD WAR II - KOREA - COLD WAR - VIETNAM
DOLORES ALFOND - VOICE/FAX (206) 881 1499
LYNN O'SHEA ---- VOICE/FAX (718) 846-4350
BITS 'N' PIECES NOVEMBER 4, 1995
THANKS TO SENATOR BOB SMITH - FROM THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, BOB SMITH
SPOKE FOR TWO HOURS ON BEHALF OF OUR KOREAN AND VIETNAM ERA POW/MIAS.
SENATOR SMITH OUTLINED THE FAILURES OF THE DPMO AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH IN
DEALING WITH THE POW ISSUE. ONCE AGAIN, SENATOR SMITH PROVIDED A
POWERFUL VOICE FOR THOSE WHO CAN NOT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. IT IS
REFRESHING TO SEE A UNITED STATES SENATOR WHO PUTS MORALITY AHEAD OF
PROFIT. WE ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE OF SENATOR SMITH AND HIS STAFF'S
EFFORTS ON BEHALF OF OUR PO W/MIAS.
IN OUR BITS 'N' PIECES, DATED OCTOBER 28TH, WE LISTED THE NAMES OF
MISSING AMERICAN SERVICEMEN RECENTLY IDENTIFIED BY THE PENTAGON. WE
ALSO DISCUSSED INTELLIGENCE REPORTS THAT PUT INTO QUESTION THOSE
IDENTIFICATIONS. WE CLOSED BY SAYING THAT WE HOPED EACH OF THE
FAMILIES INVOLVED HAD GOTTEN THEIR TRUTH, BUT WE WONDERED.
THE FAX MACHINES HAD NOT COOLED DOWN, WHEN WE LEARNED HOW DISPLEASED THE
FAMILIES OF 5 CREWMEN LOST APRIL 22, 1970 ARE. PATRICIA ROWLEY
HALLMAN, DAUGHTER OF COL. CHARLES ROWLEY NOTIFIED THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE
OF FAMILIES THAT THERE WERE NO INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE REMAINS
RECOVERED DURING THE EXCAVATION. THE FAMILIES' REQUEST FOR DNA TESTING
WAS REFUSED. ALSO, REFUSED WAS A REQUEST FOR AN INDEPENDENT EXAMINATION
OF THE REMAINS.
A PRESS RELEASE, ISSUED OCT. 31ST, BY THE FAMILIES OF COL. CHARLES
ROWLEY, COL. CHARLIE DAVIS, COL. WILLIAM BROOKS AND SGT. RONNIE HENSLEY
(SEE PAGE 4) CALLED FOR A HALT TO THE PLANNED "BURIAL" SCHEDULED FOR
NOVEMBER 8TH AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY. A FIFTH FAMILY REFUSES TO
ALLOW THEIR LOVED ONES' NAME TO BE PLACED ON THE STONE AND WILL NOT
ATTEND THE "BURIAL."
DOCUMENTS PROVIDED TO THE ALLIANCE, BY MS. ROWLEY-HALLMAN, PROVE BEYOND
DOUBT THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS NO EVIDENCE THAT TEN MEN
DIED IN THIS INCIDENT. FORENSIC EVIDENCE PROVIDED TO THE FAMILIES
INDICATES THE POSSIBILITY THAT ONLY ONE MAN WAS ON THAT PLANE WHEN IT
MESSAGE TRAFFIC, DATED 10 NOV. 93, REFERS TO THIS CASE AND THE A-130
CRASH INVOLVING MAJOR PETER MATTHES, (AIR FORCE AUTHENTICATOR CODE
(GX2527 - LAST SEEN IN THE EARLY 1990'S OUTSIDE A VIETNAMESE PRISON.)
THE MESSAGE STATES "WE ANTICIPATE SOME INDIVIDUAL IDENTIFICATIONS MAY BE
POSSIBLE. HOWEVER, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT WE CAN BIOLOGICALLY ESTABLISH
THAT ALL AIRMEN FOR EACH INCIDENT ARE REPRESENTED IN THE REMAINS
RECOVERED FROM THE RESPECTIVE SITES." OF THE 18 MEN INVOLVED IN THE
TWO INCIDENTS, ONLY ON E WAS IDENTIFIED INDIVIDUALLY.
PICKING UP ON THE STORY REUTERS REPORTED, ON OCTOBER 31ST - "A PENTAGON
OFFICIAL SAID....GROUP BURIALS WERE COMMONLY RESORTED TO WHEN
"HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND INTELLIGENCE" DATA SUGGESTED AN ENTIRE
CREW MAY HAVE DIED IN A CRASH, EVEN THOUGH NO ONE COULD BE IDENTIFIED."
Gold Star awarded daughter of aviator lost in Laos
by Mathew Paust
November 12, 2002
SALUDA -- Patti Rowley Sayles would love to be able to return the Gold Star
lapel button she received Monday in a Veterans Day ceremony at Saluda.
It would mean that her father, Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Stoddard Rowley
Sr., whose airplane was shot down over Laos on April 22, 1970, and who is
officially presumed dead, is actually still alive.....
Mathew Paust can be reached at 804-642-1738 or by e-mail at
Copyright c 2002, Daily Press
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