Charles Champlain has spent the majority of his life serving others in one capacity or another. From his time in the Navy, to serving Tahlequah on the Police force and also his time on the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, he has taken pride in protecting and serving his community. His family, especially his grandson Connor, wished to honor our hero by participating in this program. Charles Champlain joined the U.S. Navy in February of 1971 and was deployed during the Vietnam Era. He did two Mediterranean cruises aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and one Mediterranean cruise aboard the USS Saratoga (CV 60). During his time on the USS John F. Kennedy he was a member of the VF-14 Tophatters and held the title ADJ-2, Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, where he was a jet mechanic and crew chief. He provided service and maintenance to onboard F-4 Phantom aircraft. The second cruise he participated in was extended for the NATO wargames exercises and allowed him to travel to the Arctic Circle and receive his “Blue Nose Card”. In 1973 during his second cruise upon the USS John F. Kennedy the ship was given orders to go to Vietnam and was en route when the treaty ending the war was signed. When asked about his time with Charlie on board the USS John F. Kennedy, his shipmate Gary “The Kid” Malaska wrote “Given the nature of our jobs, Charlie was highly regarded for his contributions to our line crew being a close knit group. His humor, knowledge, work ethic and genuine caring for others in our group made our cruise safe, enjoyable and highly successful.” When the Navy transitioned to F-14 aircraft in 1974 Charles changed squadrons to stay with the F-4J Phantoms and became a member of the VF-31 (Felix) Strike Fighter Squadron. Charles was honorably discharged in 1975.
Tahlequah Proudly honors Charles Champlain who served as an E-5 in the United States Navy from 1971-1975.