Military Wiki
Charles Plumb, Jr.
Born 1942 (age 79–80)
Place of birth Gary, Indiana
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svgUnited States Navy
Years of service 1960 - 1991
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Joseph Charles (Charlie) Plumb, Jr. USNR, (Ret.) (born November 3, 1942) is a United States Naval Academy graduate, former Navy fighter pilot, and Vietnam Prisoner of War (POW). Captain J. Charles Plumb graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis and went on to graduate Navy Flight School. After graduation, he was deployed on an aircraft carrier and flew Navy Fighter Jets over North Vietnam until he was shot down in 1967. He was held as a Prisoner of War until his release in 1973. Charles Plumb retired from the United States Navy Reserve with the rank of Captain after 31 years of service.[1] He currently resides in Westlake Village, California.

Early life and education

Plumb was born in Gary, Indiana, United States. He attended elementary school in Lecompton, KS, middle school at Milburn Jr. High, and graduated Shawnee Mission North High School in Merriam, KS in 1960.[2] That same year, he earned a congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He graduated four years later with the class of 1964 with a BS in Electrical Engineering.[3]

Military career – prisoner of war

From the Naval Academy, Captain Plumb reported to flight training in Pensacola, FL, Meridian, MS, and the Naval Air Station in Beeville, TX (1964-1965). In November 1965 Plumb earned his Navy Wings, becoming a United States Naval Aviator. Shortly after, he reported directly to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, CA. There, he flew the first adversarial flights in the development of a new Navy Fighter Weapons School, currently known as “TOPGUN.”[4] The next year, he was deployed on the aircraft carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, flying F-4 Phantom jets with Fighter Squadron VF-114, The Aardvarks.[5] He was shot down on May 19, 1967, during his 75th mission (five days before the end of his tour), captured, and survived 2,103 days as a POW until his release on February 18, 1973.[6] Following his repatriation, Plumb continued his Navy career in Reserve Squadrons holding four commands, including the carrier USS Coral Sea. He retired from the Naval Reserves in 1991 as a Navy Captain.

Naval aircraft flown during military career

Captain Plumb has flown the T-34 Mentor, T-28 Trojan, T2J Buckeye, F9F Cougar, F11F Tiger, F-4 Phantom, A-4 Sky Hawk, A-7 Corsair, and F/A-18 Hornet.[7]

Military decorations

During his active time in the Navy, Captain Plumb earned the Bronze Star Medal, two Silver Star Medals, two Purple Heart Medals, the Legion of Merit Medal, POW Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.[7]

Post military – second career

Over the past 40 years, Captain Plumb has been a Professional Speaker and Business Consultant, relating his experience as a POW to every-day life.[8] He maintains his Commercial/Instrument Pilots License and currently owns and flies an Antique PT-19 Fairchild and an Experimental Long EZ. He continues his longstanding involvement with the Commemorative Air Force, holding the rank of Colonel.


  1. "Jpseph Charles Plumb Bio". 
  2. Plumb, Charles (1973). I'm No Hero. USA: Independence Press. pp. 20–36. ISBN 1-881886-01-8. 
  3. "POW Bio". 
  4. "POW Bio". Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  5. Evans, Mark L.. "USS Kitty Hawk (CV(A)-63)". Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  6. Traux, SaraLloyd. "Making the Most of It". Santa Ynez Valley Journal. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "J Charles Plumb, Capt Officer USN(Ret)". Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  8. Baker, Bob. "'Triumph of an Ordinary Man' Ex-Pow Resurrects Pain, Pathos to Motivate Others". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Sep 16, 2013. 

External links