Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Nevermore: Captain Chuck Engle, Raven 26

The Raven and Hmong community respected Captain Charles “Chuck” Engle as a daring and skilled pilot. On multiple occasions, he displayed extreme heroism while locating and protecting downed pilots and coordinating rescue operations for them.

On one such mission, Capt. Engle responded to a downed OV-10 pilot in the Plain of Jars region in Laos. Engle located the pilot and directed air support while waiting for a rescue helicopter. During the first rescue attempt, heavy machine gun fire damaged the helicopter. Engle flew his O-1 between the gun positions and helicopter, allowing the helicopter to escape.

Capt. Engle continued to direct air strikes until the enemy guns were silenced. He then flew back to Long Tieng, switched his damaged O-1 for another, and headed back to the area where he provided top cover for the successful rescue of the downed Airman.

For these actions Captain Engle was awarded the Air Force Cross, the service’s second highest award for heroism.

Sadly, Capt Engle died during an aircraft accident two weeks before his tour ended, and before the Air Force Cross could be presented to him.

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