Remains Returned 11/2006

Name: Charles Joseph "Chuck" Scharf
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 20 March 1933
Home City of Record: San Diego CA
Date of Loss: 01 October 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 211000N 1043900E (VJ730340)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Refno: 0158

Other Personnel In Incident: Martin J. Massucci (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2019.


SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes

On October 1, 1965, Capt. Charles J. Scharf was the pilot of the lead
aircraft in a flight of four F4C fighter jets assigned a road reconnaissance
mission about 79 miles west-northwest of Hanoi, 15 kilometers from the
border of China, near Ban Puoi Airfield. Scharf's bombardier/navigator was
1Lt. Martin J. Massucci.

During the mission, Scharf radioed that he was hit and was bailing out. One
parachute was seen and the plane remained airborne for about 30 seconds
prior to impact. Chuck and his backseater were both reported missing in

CIA reported to Scharf's family that he was mentioned in the 1967 East
German film, "Pilots in Pajamas," but Defense Intelligence stated that the
photo did not correlate with the name. Chuck's family has viewed 6 hours of
the 8 hour film. Segments of "Pilots in Pajamas" were used in Sylvester
Stallone's documentary, "MIAs, Where Are They?" Barbara Lowerison, Scharf's
sister, says, "When I saw the documentary, there were scenes which led me to
believe that Chuck was in that film. I would bet my life on it!"

Lowerison says, "I, as a sister cannot and will not give up hope. I strongly
believe that we do have live men detained against their will in Communist
controlled environments. I urge our government to pursue the release of each
and every one of these men and to urge the release of all remains. It is the
legal and moral responsibility of the U.S. Government to protect and stand
up for American fighting men."

Charles J. Scharf was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Martin J. Massucci
to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained missing in

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense

November 09, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public/Industry(703) 428-0711

Air Force Pilot Missing in Action from Vietnam War is Identified

 The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced
 today that the remains of a U.S. Air Force officer missing in action from
 the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to his family
 for burial with full military honors.

 He is Col. Charles J. Scharf of San Diego. His funeral is scheduled for
 Nov. 30 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.

 Col Scharf and a fellow crew member took off in their F-4C Phantom IIs from
 Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand on October 1, 1965. Their
 mission was to attack an enemy concentration and a major highway in North
 Vietnam. After the lead aircraft developed problems en route, Scharf
 assumed the lead of the two other F-4s in the flight. After he completed
 two bombing runs, Scharf's aircraft was hit by enemy fire. His radio
 transmission of "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" was heard by the other two
 aircraft. One radioed "Gator 3 (Scharf's call sign), you're on fire, you'd
 better get out! Bail out, Gator 3!" Scharf's plane began to disintegrate
 and a parachute was seen leaving the aircraft.

 The other two aircraft lost sight of the parachute, and circled the area
 for about 10 minutes where Scharf's aircraft had crashed and burned but no
 radio or visual contact was made then nor in subsequent aerial search and
 rescue operations.

 In January 1990, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) provided
 information to U.S. officials indicating two men were buried near their
 crash site, but that one had been washed away during flooding. Within a
 month, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting
 Command (JPAC), interviewed three witnesses to the crash and located
 scattered wreckage at the site. The 1992 excavation of that site yielded
 human remains, a dental prosthesis, numerous personal effects including the
 rank insignia of Scharf's fellow crewman. A second joint excavation in 1993
 recovered additional artifacts, but no remains.

 A third excavation in 2004 recovered additional evidence including
 pilot-related life-support artifacts, a metal captain's insignia (Scharf's
 rank at the time) and a plastic denture tooth.

 Among dental records and other forensic tools and circumstantial evidence,
 scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory
 (AFDIL) also attempted to use mitochondrial DNA from a known maternal
 relative to establish the identification. However, the tests were
 inconclusive. From Scharf's widow, they obtained a number of envelopes
 containing letters he had sent to her during the war. AFDIL specialists
 were able to extract mitochondrial DNA from the gummed adhesive on those
 envelopes, and JPAC was able to confirm the identification. JPAC's detailed
 analysis of the debris and other evidence concluded that the parachute
 sighted was the F-4C's drag parachute.

 For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account
 for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call
 (703) 699-1169.


From: "Lynn O'Shea" <>
Subject: Sad News
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2012 19:42:33 -0500

It is with deep sadness we inform you of the passing of Barbara Scharf-Lowerison, sister of POW/MIA Charles Scharf.
Barbara passed on Jan 8 2012. She was surrounded by family and passed peacefully.
To the Scharf -Lowerison family we offer our deepest sympathy.

Lynn O’Shea
Director of Research
National Alliance of Families
For the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen
World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam + Gulf Wars + Afghanistan

Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2013 22:51:27 -0700
Subject: Re: Col Charles Scharf
From: Steve L 
To: "P.O.W. Network" <>
Col.Charles Scharf has been a prisoner since 1 Oct 1965.  My mother, Barbara Lowerison has fought very hard for 40 yrs to bring him home.  She passed away 8 Jan 2012.  In Oct 2011 a Vietnamese male arrived at her home. He said he had been in prison with Charles Scharf in Hanoi 2 levels below ground. We know this is true because he relayed information only my mother and myself know.  He had to see Uncle Chuck in order to say what he said. He also said Col. Scharf  has one arm missing which accounts for the bone fragment sent back.  Our government has always known where our prisoners are, a fact made clear when they sent someone to kill several prisoners saying they were collaborators. The operative could clearly see they were prisoners and did not take the shot. Col. Scharf was on that list with 4 others. Why are these national heroes still there?

"In my second year, I started hearing about POW/MIA bracelets and I asked a question how do you get one?" said Lt. Col. Kris Person, a veteran pilot ...