Retired Sep. 1, 1986.
Major General William M. Charles Jr. is commander of the Sheppard Technical Training Center, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
General Charles was born in Ellwood City, Pa., in 1930. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1948. He is a 1954 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y with a bachelor of science degree and received a master's degree in management from Central Michigan University in 1974. The general completed Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1959; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., concurrently earning a master of military arts and science degree in 1968; and the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., in 1975.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1948 and served tours of duty at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; Brooks Air Force Base, Texas; and Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y., prior to entering the academy in 1950.
Upon graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and was subsequently awarded pilot wings in September 1955. His first assignment after pilot training was as a B-47 co-pilot in the 384th Bombardment Wing, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. In early 1958, following duty with the Standardization Evaluation Division, he was assigned as aide to the commander of the 825th Air Division at Little Rock.
In August 1959 General Charles was assigned to the 72nd Bombardment Wing, Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, and flew B-52G's with the Standardization Evaluation Division. From July 1962 to October 1965, he served at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., as air officer commanding the 23rd Cadet Squadron. He performed an additional duty as officer in charge of the honor representatives. Following F-100 fighter-bomber training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., he was assigned in July 1966 to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 40 combat missions in F-100s. General Charles then transferred to Headquarters 7th/13th Air Forces with detached duty at Don Muang Air Base, Thailand. There he worked as an adviser, planner and operations staff officer with the Royal Thai Air Force in the Thai air operations center.
When he returned to the United States in June 1967, General Charles attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Following graduation in June 1968, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in the Directorate of Doctrine, Concepts and Objectives.
From July 1972 to August 1974, General Charles served with the 449th Bombardment Wing, Kincheloe Air Force Base, Mich., first as operations officer for the 716th Bombardment Squadron; then as chief of the Wing Operations and Training Division; and finally as assistant deputy commander for operations.
After completing the Naval War College in July 1975 as a distinguished graduate, he was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as deputy director for operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. From June 1976 to September 1977, General Charles was executive to the SAC commander in chief. He then took command of the 320th Bombardment Wing at Mather Air Force Base, Calif. In March 1979 the general transferred to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as Air Training Command's deputy chief of staff for plans. He assumed his present command in December 1982.
General Charles is a command pilot and wears the U.S. Army Parachutist Badge. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
He was promoted to major general Aug. 1, 1982, with date of rank May 1, 1979.