Charles Douglas King

Chief Master Sergeant
United States Air Force
29 March 1946 - 05 May 1978
Muscatine, Iowa
Panel 36W Line 076

USAF Aircrew

AF Cross, Silver Star, DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Charles Douglas King

16 Sep 2000

I never knew Charles King personally,
but for my four years of college in Connecticut 1970-74,
I wore a copper bracelet with his name on it.

He was with me every day.

He shares the same birthday,
March 29, as my only child

Dan Breen

29 Sep 2006

I wear your bracelet and hope some day you'll come home. It's getting worn now but I will never take it off. You made the ultimate sacrifice and we owe you that much. My family knows its importance to me and will wear it long after I'm gone. Rest in peace.

Kay Kujawa

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In the late afternoon of 24 Dec 1968 then-Major Charles R. Brownlee, in F-105D 62-4234, was part of a flight which was attacking trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail near the Ban Karai Pass on the Lao/NVN border. Brownlee's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and he was forced to eject several miles to the west. Brownlee was able to contact his wingmen and advised that he was injured. Approaching darkness precluded a rescue attempt and Brownlee was told to remain under cover and expect a daybreak rescue attempt.

On the morning of 25 Dec an HH-3E (tail number 64-14230) from the 40th Air Rescue Squadron's Det 1 arrived on the scene. Pararescueman A1C Charles D. King was lowered to the ground via hoist while the HH-3E remained in a hover. King found Major Brownlee's body still in his parachute harness hanging from a tree. As King was attaching Brownlee's harness to the hoist enemy troops appeared, firing at both King and the HH-3E. King was hit and advised his pilot to pull away from the site. As the HH-3 rose, the hoist cable snagged a tree and broke, dropping both King and Brownlee's body to the ground. Damage to the HH-3 and the presence of enemy troops prevented any further SAR attempts. Although a "Bright Light" ground team was inserted into and spent two days in the area, they found no trace of either man.

Although A1C King had reported that Major Brownlee apparently was dead, both men were classed as "Missing in Action" and both were promoted while in that status. An Air Force board eventually concluded that Colonel Brownlee had died after ejecting and he was reclassified as "Died while Missing, Body not Recovered" with a date of death of 25 Dec 1968. On 05 May 1978 the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for A1C King.

In February 1986 a Lao refugee in the United States reported that he had witnessed King's capture and watched as he was taken away in a truck. The refugee's story matched most details the incident, but he had no knowlege of what subsequently happened to A1C King or to Brownlee's body. A1C King's identity papers were later seen on display in the Central Army Museum in Hanoi.

The remains of the two men have not been repatriated.

The President of the United States
takes pride in presenting the



Airman 1st Class
United States Air Force

for service as set forth in the following


The Air Force Cross is presented to Charles Douglas King, Airman First Class, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as a Pararescueman in Southeast Asia on 25 December 1968. On that date, Airman King was aboard a helicopter engaged in the recovery of a downed United States Air Force pilot from an extremely hostile area. With complete disregard for his own safety, Airman King voluntarily descended on a rescue hoist more than one hundred feet to the ground to aid the injured pilot. Once on the ground, he carried the rescue device to the pilot, freed him from the parachute, secured him to the rescue device, and then used the cable hoist to drag the pilot to a point near the hovering helicopter. Suddenly, enemy soldiers closed in and directed automatic weapons fire at Airman King, the injured pilot, and the helicopter. Though wounded, Airman King, in an extraordinary display of courage and valor, placed his comrades' lives above his own by refusing to continue their exposure to the murderous enemy fire. Without taking time to secure himself to the hoist cable, he radioed that he was hit and for the helicopter to pull away. Airman King made this selfless decision with the full realization that once the helicopter departed, he would be alone, wounded, and surrounded by armed, hostile forces. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Airman King reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

"No greater love has a man than this,
that he lay down his life for a friend."
(John 15:12)

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Dan Breen

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IA State Index . Panel 36W
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Sep 2000
Last updated 10/03/2006