Chuck Myers Was a ‘Fighter Mafia’ Legend
He helped pioneer nimble air-superiority fighters, the A-10 Warthog and played a pivotol role in bringing back the battleship
Charles E. “Chuck” Myers, a valued and colorful member of the military reform movement and “Fighter Mafia” co-conspirator, died on May 9 at the age of 91. He devoted his life to serving his country, both in and out of uniform. He played an active role in developing many of the tactical aircraft that still serve as the backbone of the fleet: the F-16, F-18 and A-10.
Many of his innovative ideas will continue to be incorporated into future aircraft, guaranteeing his influence will endure for generations.
Chuck Myers was born on March 21, 1925 near Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia, foreshadowing a life devoted to aviation. He grew up in Philipsburg, New Jersey where he excelled at sports and dreamed of flying planes. In his senior year, he led his football team, the “Gridders,” as quarterback to an undefeated season.
His military service began shortly after he turned 18, when he joined the Army Air Forces during World War II. He became a B-25 pilot — at 19, one of the youngest during the war — and flew low-level attack missions to destroy Japanese shipping in the Pacific with the 345th Bomb Group as part of the Fifth Air Force.
Myers left the Army Air Forces in October 1945 to study engineering at Lafayette College. While in college, he continued to fly with an Air Force reserve unit based in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Because he viewed the prospect of an engineering career as boring, following graduation, he joined the Navy. Despite his extensive flying experience, he had to learn how to fly all over again, the Navy way.
He qualified as a jet pilot and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard, flying F9F Panther jets during the Korean War in missions designed to interdict supply routes.
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