Charles Levis, COL, Air Force, Fort Worth TX, 11Sep78 02W128 - The Virtual Wall®

Charles Allen Levis

United States Air Force
07 November 1932 - 11 September 1978
Fort Worth, Texas
Panel 02W Line 128



USAF Command Navigator

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Campaign medals

The database page for Charles Allen Levis

14 Nov 2002

We survived our association with SAC's Lisa Ann/Rivet Amber aircraft which broke apart in flight near Shemya; I survived my EB-66 tour in Vietnam; most regrettably you did not. The conventional wisdom for our military lifetime was that "Old Crows" (AFSC 1575, Electronic Warfare Officer) never return as survivors from an enemy shootdown because of our substantial intelligence value to the enemy. My prayer is that you did not die as a POW, alone and known only to God. Sleep well, my friend, your fellow "Crows" still carry the flag for you. You brought honor to our profession and we salute you for your ultimate sacrifice.


My name, and my place, and my tomb, all forgotten,
The brief pace of time well and patiently run,
So let me pass away, peacefully, silently,
Only remembered by what I have done.

-- Bonar --

From a friend, same Career Field (1575), flew same aircraft,
Roy V. Fair, Colonel USAF (Ret)
8820 Lake Drive, Snellville, Ga 30039

22 May 2003

Col. Levis was one of the original EWOs selected for Lisa Ann/Rivet Amber (Hughes Project #863).

In 1971 Colonel Levis volunteered for a combat tour in Vietnam saying "... I just wanted to pull my oar before the War was over." He was assigned to the 42nd Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron, 388th TFW, at Korat RTAFB, Thailand.

As the HQ 388th TFW Wing Electronic Warfare Officer for Reconnaissance I got to welcome Colonel Levis aboard and introduce him to the EB-66. Six months after I rotated back to the states he was shot down by an SA-2 SAM on Easter Sunday (April 2, 1972) just south of the DMZ.

Colonel Levis was flying a combat support mission (B-52 Pathfinder Escort) in an EB-66C with the call sign "Bat-21" . The only known survivor recovered was the Navigator, Lt Col Iceal Hambleton.

Colonel Levis was more than an outstanding EWO and gentleman. 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.

From a friend and fellow SAC/TAC EWO,
King Hawes
Omaha, Nebraska

13 Feb 2006

My brothers and I were children in the neighborhood where Colonel Levis lived. I recall he was a father who would play with all the kids in the neighborhood. No one was left out. He would buy ice cream from the ice cream man for all the kids. He was not only a brave warrior but a kind man. I'm 42 now but have thought of him often through the years...

From a friend,
Glenn Elder

03 May 2006

Charles Levis was a crew member of my dad's B-52 crew at Loring AFB, Maine during the early 60s. I remember him as a smart, kind man who loved his family and his country. Every year I teach the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, and I ask my students to find and honor one fallen American from this website. I choose Charlie every year. We remember him with love and respect for his service to his country and for the sacrifice he made.

Nancy Wooten Rice
Fort Worth, Texas

31 May 2006

I never knew this man, but wear his red Vietnam MIA bracelet often.

When I requested the bracelet many years ago, I wanted something to remember the war by, and I thought sponsoring someone who was there was a good way to do it. I often think about Charles, but he was never real to me. He was someone who was there and did his part.

Today I decided to do a little research on the net to see what I could find out about this man, and found this site. Charles is now very real to me, thanks to the kind words left by friends. To anyone who knew this man, my most sincere regret for your loss. The words you all have placed here make him seem the type of man any person would be honored to know, myself now included. His memory and all others lost with him will never be forgotten.

Andi Brodsky
New Berlin, Wi, Formerly Ft. Worth, Tx
E-mail address is not available.

11 Feb 2007

I have Charles Levis' silver bracelet.

We share the remembering.

Jim Denning

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 02 Apr 1972 two EB-66 electronic warfare aircraft departed Korat RTAFB in Thailand to provide EW support to B-52 bombers operating south of the DMZ. BAT 21 was lead with BAT 22 as number two. The "Easter Offensive" had just begun and very large North Vietnamese forces were moving south through the DMZ.

Although numerous SA-2 missiles were fired at the B-52s, there were no hits ... until BAT 21 was hit while turning south to vacate the target area. The stricken EB-66 broke up at about 18,000 feet, but only one crewman - navigator Lt Col Iceal Hambleton - was able to parachute to safety on the ground.

The safety was illusory, though, since Hambleton landed in the midst of the south-bound NVA forces. SAR and strike aircraft supported Hambleton as he moved south toward a pick-up point, but it soon became apparent that the area was simply too "hot" for SAR helicopter operations. After 11 days of travel by night, Hambleton was able to join up with a South Vietnamese SEAL team led by US Navy Lieutenant Tom Norris and was successfully rescued.

The downing of BAT 21 and the subsequent SAR efforts were costly in terms of aircraft and aircrews:

  • 2 Apr: BAT 21, EB-66C tail number 54-0466, 42nd TEWS:
    • Lt Col Iceal Hambleton, rescued
    • Lt Col Anthony R. Giannangeli, KIA
    • Lt Col Charles A. Levis, KIA
    • Major Wayne L. Bolte, KIA
    • Major Henry M. Serex, KIA
    • 1st Lt Robin F. Gatwood, KIA
    The remains of BAT 21's crew have not been repatriated.

  • 2 Apr: Army UH-1H tail number 67-17801, F Troop, 8th Cav Rgt
    • 1LT Byron Kent Kulland, pilot, MIA
    • WO1 John Wesley Frink, pilot, MIA
    • SP5 Ronald Page Paschall, crew chief, MIA
    • SP4 Jose M. Astorga, gunner, POW, repatriated 05 Mar 73
    The remains of Kulland, Frink, and Paschall were repatriated in 1993 and identified in 1994.

  • 2 Apr: Army AH-1G tail number 68-17033, F Troop, 8th Cav Rgt
    Aircraft destroyed; no losses.

  • 3 Apr: USAF OV-10A tail number 68-3789, 23rd TASS
    • 1st Lt William J. Henderson, POW, repatriated 27 Mar 73
    • 1st Lt Mark N. Clark, picked up

  • 3 Apr: Army UH-1H tail number 68-16330, 37th Signal Bn
    • CW2 Larry A. Zich, pilot, MIA
    • WO Douglas L. O'Neill, pilot, MIA
    • SP5 Allen D. Christensen, crewman, MIA
    • SP4 Edward W. Williams, crewman, MIA
    This loss was not directly associated with the BAT 21 incident, but occurred in the same area. Their remains have not been recovered.

  • 6 Apr: USAF HH-53C tail number 68-10365, 37th ARRS
    • Capt John Henry Call, pilot
    • 1st Lt Peter Hayden Chapman, pilot
    • TSgt Allen Jones Avery, crewman
    • TSgt Roy Dewitt Prater, crewman
    • Sgt William Roy Pearson, crewman
    • Sgt James Harold Alley, combat photographer, 601st Photo Flight
    The HH-53 was hit by ground fire as it approached Hambleton's position, rolled inverted, and exploded and burned on ground impact. The crewmen's remains were repatriated and identified on 25 Sep 1997.

  • 7 Apr: USAF OV-10A tail number 68-3820, 23rd TASS
    • Captain Bruce C. Walker, USAF, pilot
    • Captain Larry F. Potts, USMC, observer, 1st ANGLICO
    Walker evaded capture for 11 days; his last radio transmission to SAR forces was to not to make a rescue attempt as the enemy was closing in. There are reports that Potts was captured and died in Quang Binh prison. Both men remain unaccounted for.

All told, 26 US aircrewmen were on the ground. Four were rescued: Hambleton, Clark, and the two AH-1G crewmen. Two were repatriated when the POWs returned: Henderson and Astorga. Twenty died or disappeared. Of those men, nine have come home. Eleven have not. Colonel Charles Levis is among these eleven men.

Note: Lt Col Levis had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts on the RC-135E (Special Order GB-33 dated 30 Jan 68 from the Department of the Air Force).

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Nov 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009