Cross, Charlie – FL
Charlie Cross, Colonel, USAF (Ret) From July 1968 until June 1969, Charlie was assigned combat duty as a USAF helicopter pilot in the 20th Special Operations Squadron based at Nha Trang AB, South Vietnam. He flew 988 combat sorties and 543 combat flying hours as a Flight Lead in United States Air Force UH-1P helicopter gunships for the 20th Special Operations Squadron’s ‘Green Hornets’. During this combat tour, in support of highly classified U.S. Army Special Forces long range reconnaissance patrols, Charlie was awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for Heroism and Extraordinary Achievement, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with Ten Oak Leaf Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations for Extraordinary Heroism in Military Operations Against an Armed Enemy and, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Palm.
Charlie’s USAF career as a Command Pilot included operations in UH-1F, UH-1P, CH3C/E, HH-3E, HH-60G helicopters and HC-130P/H/N aircraft. His 26 years and over 7300 flight hours as a military pilot included 6000 hours in helicopters.
One highlight of Charlie’s career occurred in 1977 when Queen’s Flight, one of the British Royalty’s security agencies, personally selected Charlie to pilot His Royal Highness Prince Charles during a scheduled visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California wineries, and to a luncheon with the Governor of the State of California. Charlie led the three ship military helicopter flight supporting Prince Charles’ entourage, with the Queen’s Flight security personnel, throughout the scheduled visit. In 1989, Charlie was assigned to the Headquarters California National Guard as Chief of Plans for the California Air National Guard. His duties included civil-military emergency planning (homeland security) for civil disturbances, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, environmental disasters, terrorism and, international civil-military disaster exercises with Ukraine.
During 1999-2000, he was Chief Planner to conceptually develop, plan, and execute “Rough and Ready 2000”, the U.S. Department of Defense’s first civil-military disaster exercise with Ukraine. Today, the “Rough and Ready” exercise remains a premier planning model for follow-on National Guard civil-military disaster exercises within the Department of Defense’s European Command. Charlie’s meritorious service to the State of California and, the Headquarters California National Guard, was twice recognized by the Governor’s Office with awards of The Order of California, the highest state military meritorious service recognition in the California National Guard.
In June 2004, Charlie retired from the California National Guard. Now he’s ready to fish, golf, hunt, smell the roses, count his blessings and, visit with family and grandchildren. Charlie and Francoise, a retired 32 year veteran of the United States Air Force, have a home in Summerfield, FL.