Charles James Bebus

Master Sergeant
United States Air Force
04 February 1951 - 09 June 1977
Osseo, Minnesota
Panel 01W Line 099



USAF Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Charles James Bebus

29 Jan 2005

Charles "Chuck" Bebus was shot down on the 21st of December 1972 over Hanoi. The reason I know is that I flew that night with a different crew over Hanoi. Chuck and I were classmates going through the B-52 Gunnery School at Castle AFB and we had not seen each other after gunnery school until that night.

The night he was shot down we met at the base gym where the crews were waiting to be issued their in-flight meals for the evening. While waiting for our respective crew in-flight meals to be prepared, we spent about ten minutes catching up how each other had been doing. We then picked up the crew meals and proceeded to our respective aircraft.

The next day I was informed by the wing gunner that Chuck and his crew did not make it. They had taken a SAM hit over their target. The wing gunner mentioned it to me because he saw Chuck and I sitting and talking the previous night in the gym.

Chuck and I were part of a new Air Force program for B-52 gunners. We were in the very early groups of individuals who were allowed to train as B-52 gunners right out of basic training. We were called "baby gunners" due to our youth. I think Chuck was the 4th baby gunner to go through the program, I was about the 8th one, as I was a class behind Chuck. Each class of gunners had about 8 individuals in the class, most were NCO's who were cross training. But in each class was at least one individual who was straight from basic training.

Chuck was a really nice guy.

John A. Beier

A Note from The Virtual Wall

LINEBACKER II operations, popularly known as the "Christmas Bombings", began in December 1972 and involved extremely heavy operations by land- and carrier-based tactical aircraft and B-52 heavy bombers operating from Guam and Thailand.

On 21 December 1972, a B-52G bomber (tail number 58-0198) operating from Guam was hit by an SA-2 surface-to-air missile after coming off target. The seven men aboard were

  • LtCol Keith R. Heggen, captured, died in captivity (remains repatriated 1974);
  • LtCol Edward H. Johnson, radar navigator, MIA;
  • LtCol James Y. Nagahiro, pilot, captured and released in February 1973;
  • Capt Donovan K. Walters, co-pilot, MIA;
  • Capt Lynn R. Beens, navigator, captured and released in February 1973;
  • Capt Robert R. Lynn, electronic warfare officer, MIA; and
  • A1c Charles J. Bebus, gunner, MIA.
In 1976, the Secretary of the Air Force approved presumptive findings of death for the four crewmen listed as Missing in Action. In October 1988, the Vietnamese returned the remains of Bebus, Johnson, Lynn and Walters to U.S. control.

Visit the memorial to those
lost on Arc Light strikes

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
John Beier
Vietnam 72-73 
29 Jan 2005

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 01/29/2005