Charles King Butler
First Lieutenant
HMM-364, MAG-16, 1ST MAW, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
Charlottesville, Virginia
March 30, 1945 to December 28, 1969
CHARLES K BUTLER is on the Wall at Panel W15, Line 102

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Charles K Butler
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11 Sep 2003

On 28 Dec 1969, an HMM-364 CH-46 (YK-13, BuNo 153379) was returning from Phu Bai on a night IFR flight in heavy weather. In addition to the weather, YK-13 had to contend with radio problems. Although their IFR clearance specified an in-flight altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level they read back and flew at 3,000 feet. Danang Approach Control made every effort to alert the crew to their error, transmitting on all available radio frequencies, but were not able to contact YK-13.

YK-13 flew into Hai Van Pass under IMC conditions and hit a mountain, killing all ten men aboard the aircraft:

  • HMM-364:

  • Passengers:
    • MGySgt Edward Reynold Storm, L Co, Marine Spt Bn, 3rdMAF
    • CTC Robert Sidney Gates, NAVSUPACT, USNAVFORV
    • SSgt Richard David Walsh, MABS-16, MAG-16
    • LCpl James Howard Pence, MABS-16, MAG-16
    • LCpl Leslie Lewis Shelton, MABS-16, MAG-16
    • PFC James Muriel Alderman, MABS-16, MAG-16

Charles Butler, and the other Purple Foxes who served in Vietnam, are remembered by the women who waited at home, whether mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, or friends. Those women, the

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Purple Foxy Ladies

continue to support today's Purple Foxes of HMM-364 as they serve our country.

Visit
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the Purple Foxes

on-line or go to our unit page
on The Virtual Wall

A memorial initiated by the
Purple Foxy Ladies
Foxyladiesgroup@aol.com


 
17 May 2007

Charles K. Butler (Chippy) was my next door neighbor as I grew up in Charlottesville. Chippy was 10 years older than I, but was the big brother I never had. I can remember Christmas mornings when he would come by and help me erect my electric train sets which Santa had brought. I often think of him. It was magical when I went to the Wall and found his name almost instantly. I didn't know at the time the Wall was in chronological order or notice there were guides to ask about which panel he would be found. I just came to where his name was. I will always remember that day. Chippy was a real hero and good childhood friend.

Rick Saunders
3204 Woodland Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
rick@conquestgroup.com


 
The President of the United States
takes pleasure in presenting a
gold star in lieu of the second award of the

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS

to

CHARLES K. BUTLER
First Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps Reserve

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 5 October 1969, First Lieutenant Butler launched as Section Leader of a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the mission of medically evacuating a seriously wounded Marine from an area south of DaNang. Arriving over the designated location, he observed that the site was obscured by dense cloud cover and was advised that the Marine unit on the ground had been under sporadic hostile fire. Despite these adversities, First Lieutenant Butler located a break in the clouds and commenced his approach to the landing zone, but was forced to regain altitude because of intense enemy fire. A second attempt to complete the mission was aborted due to the rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. After completing an alternate mission nearby, he learned of improved weather conditions at the initial evacuation site and, although fully aware of the possibility of encounter-ing hostile fire, elected to extract the casualty. Disregarding the lack of supporting aircraft, he boldly commenced his approach, immediately coming under a heavy volume of fire. Undaunted by the fusillade directed at his aircraft and the restrictions imposed by the confined zone, he achieved a partial hover with only his rear wheels on the ground, fearlessly remaining in his dangerously exposed position until the wounded man was embarked. He then executed a series of evasive maneuvers and expeditiously directed his aircraft out of the hazardous area. First Lieutenant Butler's courage, superb airmanship, and unwavering devotion to duty at great personal risk saved the life of a fellow Marine and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
FOR THE PRESIDENT

/s/ H. W. Buse, Jr.

H. W. BUSE, JR.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U. S. MARINE CORPS
COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC

The President of the United States
takes pleasure in presenting the

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS

to

CHARLES K. BUTLER
First Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps Reserve

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 25 August 1969, First Lieutenant Charles K. Butler launched as Wingman in a flight of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the emergency mission of helilifting reinforcements from Landing Zone Baldy to elements of the Seventh Marines that were heavily engaged in combat with a large North Vietnamese Army Force north of Landing Zone West. Undaunted by the extremely heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire directed at his aircraft from enemy positions along ridges on both sides of the landing zone, he skillfully coordinated his low-altitude approach with the firing runs of supporting gunships and boldly maneuvered his helicopter to a landing in the fire-swept area, discharging the Marines, and quickly departing the dangerous zone. Following the insertion of his second increment, he resolutely returned to the hazardous area as darkness approached and successfully disembarked his third increment. When informed that elements of a company had sustained three casualties and were blocked from rejoining their main body by a North Vietnamese Army unit which surrounded them on three sides, First Lieutenant Butler, despite total darkness, completely disregarding his own safety as he again braved the intense hostile fire to extract the embattled Marines and transport them to the command post. After delivering the casualties to the nearest medical facility and refueling his CH-46, First Lieutenant Butler responded to an urgent request for an emergency resupply of ammunition and entered the precarious area for the fourth time to successfully deliver external loads of vital ordnance. First Lieutenant Butler's courage, superior airmanship, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were instrumental in accomplishing the hazardous mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
FOR THE PRESIDENT

/s/ H. W. Buse, Jr.

H. W. BUSE, JR.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U. S. MARINE CORPS
COMMANDING GENERAL, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC


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