COLUMBUS — A Shelby County native who fought during the Vietnam War and was declared Missing in Action has been honored for the sacrifice he made for his country.
State Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, has announced House Bill 276 unanimously passed both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. The bill designates a section of state Route 66 the “Sgt. 1st Class Charles Gregory Huston Memorial Highway.” The same bill also designates a number of other memorial highways and bridges across the state.
The son of William Paul and Betty Huston, Charles Gregory “Greg” Huston was born Sept. 29, 1945. After graduating from Houston High School, Huston enlisted in the United States Army.
According to official records, on March 28, 1968, Sgt. 1st Class George R. Brown, intelligence specialist; Sgt. Alan L. Boyer, rifleman; Sgt. Charles G. “Greg” Huston, rifleman; and eight South Vietnamese (ARVN) troops were inserted into the rugged jungle covered mountains of eastern Laos. They were ordered to conduct a reconnaissance patrol in an area well known for its heavy enemy activity.
As the patrol moved through dense Laotian jungle 10 miles north-northwest of the city of Tchepone and 14 miles west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border, it made contact with an enemy force of unknown size. When it became apparent they were outnumbered and outgunned, the team requested immediate extraction by helicopter. They also took evasive action to escape and evade the enemy as they moved toward the designated rendezvous point.
When the extraction helicopter arrived, its crew dropped a rope ladder through the dense jungle to the reconnaissance team. Seven of the ARVN soldiers safely climbed up the ladder to the hovering helicopter. As the 8th ARVN soldier climbed aboard, the helicopter came under heavy enemy automatic weapons fire.
Simultaneously, Boyer began to climb the ladder. Seconds later, as the helicopter began to depart under fire; the ladder caught in the foliage and broke. Boyer fell the short distance back to the ground. When last seen by the helicopter crew, all three Americans were alive, uninjured and successfully defending their position.
Three days later (April 1), a search and rescue team was inserted into the ambush site to search for the three Americans. The ground search continued for six hours in and around the last known position of the three Americans. The search failed to locate any evidence of the men either alive or dead. At the time formal search efforts were terminated, Boyer, Huston and Brown were listed as Missing in Action. Huston’s remains have never been recovered. He is the only soldier from Shelby County whose status remains unknown.
“Sgt. 1st Class Greg Huston was among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. His family, like many throughout our country, has been deprived of closure,” Manchester said. “Sgt. 1st Class Huston fought bravely for the United States and we are proud to honor him in this way.”
Members of the Huston family have been invited by Manchester to attend the ceremony in Columbus when Gov. Mike DeWine signs HB276 into law. Also invited to attend is Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst. The Huston family asked Barhorst for assistance in getting the legislation passed.
“With Mike’s background in government, I knew he would know how to go about getting this done,” John Huston said. John is Greg’s younger brother. “I’m grateful to him, Rep. Manchester, and all those in the community who wrote letters of support enabling the passage of this legislation.”
The northbound and southbound lanes of state Route 66 between Houston Road and Roeth Road have been designated the Sgt. 1st Class Charles Gregory Huston Memorial Highway. A formal ceremony will be scheduled once the signs have been made.