Charlie Crafts was born in 1942 in Livermore Falls, Maine. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 3, 1964, and completed basic training and advanced training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, before deploying to the Republic of Vietnam in November 1964. PFC Crafts served as a radio operator and advisor to the 33rd Vietnamese Ranger Battalion in South Vietnam and was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War by the Viet Cong on December 29, 1964. After spending 787 days in captivity, SPC Crafts was released by the Viet Cong on February 23, 1967. He received an honorable discharge from the Army on May 12, 1967, and remained in the Army Reserve until his discharge on June 2, 1970.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For Gallantry in action on 29 December 1964, while serving as a Radio Operator and Advisor to the 33d Vietnamese Ranger Battalion, in support of combat operations near Binh Gia, Vietnam. While accompanying two Vietnamese Ranger Battalions to a landing zone to repel a Viet Cong force, they were ambushed by an estimated 5,000 troops from the newly formed 9th Viet Cong Division. During the initial onslaught of automatic weapon, mortar, and rocket propelled grenade fire, numerous Vietnamese Rangers were wounded or killed. Specialist Fourth Class Crafts moved about the battlefield to organize and encourage his men to continue to fend off the determined enemy. He refused air evacuation twice due to the intense volume of fire on his position, ultimately resulting in his capture. Specialist Fourth Class Crafts' valorous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.