Charles "Chuck" Edward Daniels
Charles "Chuck" Edward Daniels
Charles "Chuck" Edward Daniels

Charles "Chuck" Edward Daniels

AFRH-W Resident Highlight – Charles “Chuck” Edward Daniels

By PK Knor | AFRH-W Resident

Charles Edward Daniels was born on January 28, 1930 and is a resilient man. At 14, he decided to quit school because it wasn’t challenging enough. He wrote a letter to his teacher, signing his mother’s name, asking for his school records and advising her that his family was moving! Then, every day, he left home as if he were going to school, but wandered the streets of Cambridge, MA panhandling, working odd jobs and learning about life, until he joined the Army at 17.

Chuck attended basic training at Fort Dix. His first duty station was in Japan for one month, then to Korea for one year, where he was attached to the 13th Combat Engineers. His 1st sergeant chose him (as a corporal) to run the PX. At the end of that assignment, they sent him back to Japan, where he was in charge of a larger PX for another year.

With Chuck’s initial enlistment almost over, they stationed him at Ft Hood, TX, where he re-enlisted and was given 30 days furlough. While on leave in Massachusetts, the Korean War broke out, so when he returned to his unit, they had already shipped out. They then assigned him to the Second Armored Division, 17th Engineers, as assistant platoon sergeant, where he trained an entire platoon of Texas A&M graduate students. (Even though Chuck did not have a driver’s license, nor did he know how long he would still be in the states, he bought a car. On weekends, someone in his group of friends drove the car, so they could go out dancing!)

Chuck’s next school was for thirteen weeks of combat engineer training at Ft Belvoir. Upon his return to Ft. Hood, he was promoted to sergeant first class, and again assigned as assistant platoon sergeant. Then, the entire Second Armored Division shipped out to Oppenheimer, GE on the Rhine River.

While stationed there, Chuck met his future wife Anna, a German citizen from a small town north of Frankfurt. They spent whatever time they could together and wrote letters to each other, which their friends helped to translate. According to government regulations, they had to wait three years before getting married, which they did. They wed at the cathedral in Worms, GE and had 58 wonderful years together. Anna gave him two terrific children, Susan and James. (One of his fondest memories is an around-the-world cruise that he and Anna took after he retired!)

Chuck re-enlisted in GE for artillery school at Fort Sill, OK. Afterwards, he returned to Germany to the 601st Missile Unit in Stuttgart and his family accompanied him. He was a propulsion technician, platoon sergeant, responsible for firing the “45ft long” corporal missiles. Once a year, his unit would travel to White Sands Missile Range, fire the missiles and return to Germany. The unit always passed all of their tests.

When it was time again to re-enlist, Chuck requested to attend Signal School in Ft. Monmouth, NJ, where he was assigned to the Army Pictorial Center making military videos. (On weekends he worked part time in a TV repair shop. Once, when he visited a customer’s home, she thought he was ‘Art Carney’!)

By this time, Chuck had gotten a reserve commission, which he gave up and applied to be a warrant officer. He was accepted, and as a result, was sent to Ft. Benning, GA and eventually was put in charge of a Signal Corps maintenance platoon. It was then that the United States became involved in the Vietnam War. They sent his unit to Ft. Lewis for staging. They had been there six months with no end in sight, so several soldiers requested to bring their families to Ft. Lewis. This was approved, so Chuck drove his family from GA, through the southern states, up through CA and they set up housekeeping at Ft. Lewis. Two months later, the unit got orders to Vietnam, so Chuck drove his family to New Jersey to wait while he went overseas.

In Vietnam, they assigned him to a Signal Corps maintenance unit where he traveled around the Qui Nhon Province inspecting and providing service to the units. After one year his tour was over, so he traveled west through India to reunite with his family in Germany. His duty station was with Signal Corps maintenance at the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

For his last assignment, the Army sent Chuck for another tour of duty to Vietnam, again with Signal Maintenance, but now at Phu Bi. He received a Bronze Star for his service there.

In 1970, he retired as a CW3 at Ft. Devens, MA and moved his family to Hudson, NH. He got a job as an office manager at Industrial Gas and Welding Supplies in MA. He saw a lot of potential there, and after a year he ran a portion of the company in Nashua, NH. Eventually, he bought out the business and renamed it Danfor Industrial Gasses. Chuck sold his company in 2011.

In that same year, he moved to AFRH-W and really enjoys it. Chuck has been involved with trying to get Congress to agree to a monetary increase to AFRH by active duty and reserve troops. At AFRH-W he loves all the social functions. Because he likes to dance, he visits the local VFW where they have live bands.