WINDELER, CHARLES CARL JR. Remains Returned - ID Announced 22 August 1989 Name: Charles Carl Windeler, Jr. Rank/Branch: W2/US Army Unit: Troop F, 79th Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Date of Birth: 28 July 1944 (Newburgh NY) Home City of Record: Savannah GA Date of Loss: 05 April 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 114818N 1963610E (XU746054) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G Refno: 1815 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 in 1998. Other Personnel in Incident: Henry M. Spengler (remains returned) REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: On April 5, 1972, Capt. Henry M. Spengler, pilot, and WO Charles E. Windeler, aircraft commander, were flying as lead aircraft in an AH1G helicopter (tail #67-15594) against an enemy force in the vicinity of Loc Ninh in Vinh Long Province, South Vietnam. As the helicopter was pulling off its second gun run, it was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire. The helicopter began to descend with flames billowing from the exhaust area, and at about 300 feet above the ground, it appeared that the tail boom began to bend and wobble, causing the aircraft to spin to the left. The gunship crashed, burst into flames, and exploded. Several members of the flight saw the helicopter during the descent and crash, but saw no one escape from the aircraft. An aerial search was made by numerous aircraft, but no survivors were seen. No ground search was attempted due to hostile fire. An electronic search failed to locate any survivors. Witnesses believed that Spengler and Windeler were killed in the crash of their helicopter. Because no bodies were found, they were listed with honor among the missing, prisoner, and unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. For seventeen years, the Vietnamese denied knowledge of Spengler and Windeler, although the crash of the aircraft was in enemy-held territory, and it has always been thought that the Vietnamese knew what happened to the two men. Then, in late August, 1989, the U.S. announced that the Vietnamese had discovered and returned remains for both Spengler and Windeler. Now, at least their families no longer wonder if they are among the hundreds said to be still alive in captivity. They know their men are dead. However, they may never know for sure how - or when - they died.