Name: MAJ Charles Milton Houser
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 10/13/1967 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 31.3
Date of Birth: 06/12/1936
Home City: Vale, NC
Service: EN branch of the regular component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: HHC 25 AVN 25 INF
Major organization: 25th Infantry Division
Service: EN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 27E-101
Short Summary: Small arms fire
Aircraft: UH-1C tail number 66-15210
Service number: O97134
Country: South Vietnam
Primary cause: Small Arms Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 12/16/1966
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 08
Location: Binh Duong Province III Corps.
Additional information about this casualty:
Charles M. Houser was killed in Hau Nhia Province, just off the approach end of runway 22 at Cu Chi, 25th Div Airfield. Second, the Reason is incorrect: the aircraft was not lost or crashed. It flew him to the 12th Evac Hospital, Cu Chi, RVN where he was DOA. Chuck was flying low level and was shot by a rifleman that was not located. The bullet entered the aircraft through the window of the right (pilot's) door, entered his body between the kevlar panels of the "chicken board", then through the lacing on his Flak Vest and ricocheted inside his body. He remarked to his AC "I'm hit", slumped forward on the controls and the crew chief/gunner pulled him off the controls by his shoulder straps. They were low level, about ten feet above the ground and about one mile off the end of the runway when he was hit. None of the crew heard the shot and thought he was kidding. The AC grabbed the controls, called 12th Evac Hosp and flew directly to the hospital about two miles away. When they landed doctors were on the helipad to examine him and he was rushed immediately into the ER where he was pronounced DOA/KIA. His assigned duty was Division Aviation Officer and he was flying for time to earn his flight pay for that month. I think he was initially in B Company and then went to his duties as Division Aviation Officer. As HHC had no aircraft I believe that he, like myself, flew with whoever needed a pilot or wherever he could obtain a bird. As I recall he flew only enough to receive flight pay. When he flew he took every precaution for safety available. He flew with the front and rear panels of the Chickenboard over the top of his flak vest and always put flak vests in the chin bubble. I'm not sure whether he sat on a flak vest or not but believed that he did. He was a great guy and no one teased him about the extra precautions he took. Everyone knew of his precautions and were amazed when he was killed with a single shot that had to be the golden BB. As I told you, the round came through the pilot's window, barely missing the vertical support for the window, entered between the two chicken board panels, then went through the lacings of the flak vest. Everyone was amazed by his death and all agreed, "it was just his time to go". I was the Airfield Commander and commanded 341st Airfield Operation Detachment, Cu Chi, RVN. I talked to the AC and crew of the aircraft to learn the details of his death. I do not remember any of the names of the crew. Bobbie G. Pedigo LTC AR (Ret) September 2005
I have just discovered the account of Major Houser's death and wish to add the following. I was flying as wingman in that fire team. 1Lt Frank Owens (Diamondhead 36) was the AC of Maj. Houser's aircraft. The area of operations was cleared terrain riddled with tunnels and spider holes. There had been some enemy fire, but sporadic. Nevertheless, it was a major tunnel complex throughout the war and extended under the airfield. Sniping from that area was a common occurrence. The lead aircraft of the fire team was performing reconnaissance at very low level when the fatality occurred. Joe Shipes
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
married male U.S. citizen
Religion: Methodist (Evangelical United Brethren)
Burial information: HEBRON METH CHURCH, VALE, NC
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: officer
This record was last updated on 07/24/2007
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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021
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