State News

Bragg-based Green Berets killed in Vietnam laid to rest

Posted October 5, 2011

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Three Green Berets based at Fort Bragg who were ambushed and killed in Vietnam more than 40 years ago were remembered at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday.

Staff Sgts. Douglas Dahill and Charles Prevedel and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Newton were last known to be alive on April 17, 1969, when Dahill made a radio call.

Chief Warrant Officer Rick Galer, who was a chopper pilot at the time, was on the other side of that call. He fought back tears Wednesday as he remembered how he tried to rescue them.

"We were still about five minutes out when we got the last radio call," Galer said. "The last call was just shouting."

Department of Defense officials said the men and three Vietnamese soldiers were on a reconnaissance patrol when they were ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army.

Thunderstorms prevented rescue attempts and subsequent searches turned up no signs of the men.

"(It's) kind of hard to imagine, but there was fog on the ground, clouds and rain all at the same time. The weather was just a disaster for us," Galer said.

Arlington burial Green Berets from Bragg laid to rest after four decades

Out of ammunition and nearly out of fuel, Galer said he was forced to head back to base.

"That day was just burned into my mind because we lost a team, and we hadn't lost a team in over a year," he said.

Between 1990 and 1993, the ambush site was excavated. Since then, government scientists have used circumstantial evidence and forensic tools, including dental comparisons and DNA, to identify the remains.

All three Green Berets were promoted posthumously — Prevedel and Dahill to sergeants first class and Newton to master sergeant.

Together, as a firing party delivered a three rifle volleys and a bugle played "Taps," two caskets carrying the remains were lowered into the ground.

Galer said he never thought he would see the day his comrades were given a proper burial.

"I was glad when I got the news they were coming home because I've been needing closure from this myself," he said.

39 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Sherlock Oct 6, 2011

    Saberage,
    We see by the color of you flag what you support, however as a vet of that "bad" war I will protect your right to say it as you are not able to do it.

  • BrightLight Oct 6, 2011

    Saberage-Let me get this straight. So if the 3 Green Berets gave their lives doing their duty for their country and countrymen, to hell with them because they made the ultimate sacrifice in a "bad war". Right? If that's your take, you are truly clueless, my friend.

  • You Dont Know The Facts Oct 6, 2011

    God Bless you and your families! Welcome home brave warriors! Thank you for your ultimate sacrafice to ensure our Nation's Freedoms...RIP.

  • redroselabs Oct 6, 2011

    I AM THE PROUD WIFE OF A VIETNAM VET. HE SERVED IN 69, 70 AND 71. HE LIVES EACH AND EVERY DAY WITH THE HORRIFING MEMORIES OF THAT TERRIBLE WAR. CAME HOME TO BE SPIT ON. HE WOULD "GO BACK TODAY" IF IT MENT OUR GREAT NATION'S STREETS WOULD BE SAFE, OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE FEAR, BLOOD SHEAD AND DEATH HE WITNESSED. IF IT WAS HIM, THAT WAS "LOST". I WOULD WANT MY MAN HOME TO LAY AT REST ON OUR AMERICAN LAND. IF IT WERE NOT FOR OUR "SOLDIERS" THAT GAVE THEIR LIVES, LOST THEIR LIMBS AND LIVE EACH AND EVERY DAY WITH THE MENTAL H--L OF THAT WAR, TURN ON THE TV PEOPLE, IT COULD BE THE STREETS OF OUR GREAT USA THAT WE SEE. GOD BLESS THE AMERICANS THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THE "BRINGING HOME" OF OUR SOLDIERS!!!! I PRAY EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR GUYS ARE BROUGHT HOME, NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT WOULD COST..

  • Mudface68 Oct 6, 2011

    Two caskets were lowered? I thought there were three of them.

  • warbirdlover Oct 5, 2011

    Saberage. Do you think that the soldiers wanted to be there. The were and are citizens of the USA and were just doing what the Government told them to do. They were drafted and did their duty period, instead of running away like cowards do. I also remember my Dad wondering where is Cousin was.(Lost in a Sub during WWII.) A few years ago here in Moore County they brought the remains home of a Flying Tiger that was shot down in China during WWII. They all need to come home if possible!!!!

  • 6869735 Oct 5, 2011

    AMERICANS!!!!!!!!!

  • jahausa Oct 5, 2011

    I'm just saying. There's plenty of things I do consider important, like my friends who have no jobs. I'd prefer to spend on the living. Not like everyone around here does not complain about everything else we have to pay for - but as long as you agree with it, it's ok. But if it's for an art museum or for a new school, then no way, Meeker's too corrupt, or some other excuse why we should not pay.

    I do think we should pay for this - I am just tired of the double standard around here.

  • csmith8116 Oct 5, 2011

    Thank you to the families of these soliders. Let us not forget their sacrifice and all other military families past and present.

  • Vietnam Vet Oct 5, 2011

    "If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind."

    Major Michael Davis O'Donnell 1 January 1970 Dak To, Vietnam

    CAN WE GET AN AMEN HERE...

More...