Ltc. Charles A. Levis  

Colonel Levis was one of six original EWOs selected for project Rivet Amber / Lisa Ann. He was also the team leader. Two years after Rivet Amber crashed at sea on June 5, 1969, Charlie volunteered for a combat tour in Vietnam with the Tactical Air Command (TAC). He was assigned to fly combat missions in the EB-66 with the 42 TEWS, 388th TFW at Korat RTAFB, Thailand. I was the EB-66 Wing HQ EWO (Recon.) for the 388th TFW and got to welcome Charlie aboard the day he arrived. When I asked him why he volunteered for a combat tour in Vietnam, he told me....

"I just wanted to pull my oar before the War was over."

About six months after I welcomed Charlie aboard he was shot down just south of the DMZ by a Surface to Air Missile (SAM) on Easter Sunday (April 2, 1972). Col. Levis was flying a routine combat support mission (B-52 Pathfinder Escort) in an EB-66C (54-0466) with the call sign of "Bat-21". The Air Force, Army and Navy launched an unprecedented rescue effort for survivors. During the twelve day rescue attempt five aircraft were shot down, eleven airmen were killed and two were captured. It was the most extensive and costly rescue effort in Air Force history. Lt. Thomas R. Norris was awarded the Medal of Honor for his recovery efforts. The only known survivor recovered was Bat-21's Navigator, Ltc. Iceal "Gene" Hambleton.

Charlie Levis was more than an outstanding EWO and Officer. He was a friend. He was also one of the nicest men I ever had the privilege of knowing and working with. He will be missed by all that knew him.

The rubbing above [CHARLES A. LEVIS] was taken from the Vietnam Memorial (Panel-02W, Row-128) in Washington, DC.

King Hawes

K. Hawes
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Bat-21 Crew Status:
Maj. Wayne L. Bolte - Pilot (KIA)
Ltc. Iceal Hambleton - Navigator (Rescued)
Taps: 19 Sept. 2004
Ltc. Charles A. Levis - EWO (KIA)
Ltc. Anthony R. Giannangeli - EWO (KIA)
Maj. Henry M. Serex - EWO (MIA / KIA)
1/Lt Robin F. Gatwood - EWO (KIA)

J. Hanner

The B-66 Association provided a permanent memorial for the airmen who died in B-66 operations. This memorial is located at the "National Museum of The US Air Force" in Dayton, Ohio. It was dedicated on 27 August 2004. Please click on the following links for memorial photos: #1 - #2 - #3 - #4 - #5

Related Links:
The Virtual Wall
Ltc. Charles A. Levis
B-66 Destroyer Association Memorial
Bat-21 Book by Darrel D. Whitcomb
Bat-21 Movie (1988)
"Bat-21" Model by J. C. Bahr

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Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)

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