Military widow in the Triangle reunited with bracelet that honors her husband

May 28, 2019

It is easy to see the true love in the eyes of Patricia Scharf when she talks about the man who stole her heart when she was just 16 years old.

“He was tall and good looking and a hunter,” she said with a smile.

Col. Charles Scharf, better known as Chuck,was an Air Force pilot and Patricia’s beloved husband when he left for the war in Vietnam.

“I said I will see you later and all of the good things you say to your husband,” Scharf said.

Chuck never made it home.

His plane was shot down in 1965 and he was considered missing in action. An aspiring pilot who was enrolled in a Florida college decades later came across his story

“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 now stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Wayne County.

Person bought one of those bracelets which were meant to raise awareness about military members who were held as prisoners or missing.

The name on Person’s bracelet was that of Chuck Scharf.

He said he always wondered about the backstory of the name on his bracelet.

He’s been wearing the bracelet for 20 years through thousands of flights and 140 combat missions.

“I’ve taken it off four times and that was just to work on cars,” Person said.

But he always wanted to take it off for good and give it to a member of his hero’s family.

He posted messages on Vietnam veterans’ websites while looking for the Scharf family. He said he learned a few months ago that Patricia Scharf was in Virginia, but would be moving to Garner in time for Memorial Day. He took the short drive to surprise her with the bracelet.

“I’ve been wearing this bracelet for 20 years but it’s time to give it to its rightful owner,” Person said to Scharf.

She said she gave all of the bracelets honoring Chuck away because she wanted her friends and family to have them. She said she never imagined she would see one again.

“And this is coming back to me,” she said. “That I have this bracelet. My heart.”

Charles Scharf’s body was finally identified in 2006 using DNA collected from the saliva used to seal love letters he sent to his wife while he was away.

His body is now buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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