Melvin Douglas Rash and two siblings grew up in the southeastern part of the State in York County before heading off to war. Graduating from York High School in 1966, Melvin decided to enlist in the Air Force before being drafted into the Army. He was deployed to Vietnam and based in Ubon, Thailand with the 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, 7th Air Force. With only a few months away from returning home, tragedy struck.
On May 22, 1968, Melvin and the rest of the crew of their 130 Hercules aircraft were sent on an operational mission to drop flares over enemy targets. Melvin’s position on the aircraft was load master, which meant he prepped the loads for their selected drop offs.
Savannakhet Province, Laos
Once the plane reached Savannakhet Province, Laos, on the border of Vietnam, all communication was lost. Rescue missions were unsuccessful due to the hostile environment, thick jungle covering, and misinformation from locals. Melvin was listed as Missing In Action until the early 2000’s when his remains were found and positively identified. For the family, it was both a blessing and a curse. Melvin’s brother, Larry, stated in an interview, “I’ve done more grieving in the last few months than I had since he went missing….Finding the remains forced closure.”
We, at the Virginia War Memorial, honor Melvin Rash and all of his brothers and sisters in arms for their courage and sacrifice.