From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Charles Bartholomew '61

Date of birth: February 6, 1940

Date of death: November 15, 1990

Age: 50

Lucky Bag

From the 1961 Lucky Bag:


From the Washington Post on November 27, 1990:

Capt. Charles A. Bartholomew, 50, director of ocean engineering for the Navy and supervisor of its salvage and diving operations, died Nov. 15 during a diving recertification exercise in the Gulf of Mexico, about 40 miles southwest of Panama City, Fla.

Capt. Bartholomew, a Navy diver for 22 years, disappeared from sight in 200 feet of water, witnesses told authorities. His body was recovered Nov. 17, but the cause of death has not been determined, a Navy Department spokesman said.

Assigned to Washington since 1985, Capt. Bartholomew, known as "Black Bart," headed the Navy's recovery efforts after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. During his career, he helped recover 18 ships and several aircraft. He also directed Navy participation in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska. More than half the recovered oil was collected by the Navy during that operation.

Capt. Bartholomew, who lived in Arlington, was a native of Long Beach, Calif. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1961, and from the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture in 1968. He also attended the Navy Deep Sea Diving School.

Before coming to the Washington area, he was ship superintendent and naval district salvage officer at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. He also served as a repair and diving officer in Southeast Asian waters during the Vietnam War. He commanded the Navy Experimental Diving Unit at Panama City and managed fleet maintenance funding at Pearl Harbor for the Pacific fleet.

Capt. Bartholomew recently completed a history of marine salvage for the Navy entitled "Mud, Muscle and Miracles."

Survivors include his wife, Donna Bartholomew of Springfield; three daughters, Susan Bartholomew of Springfield, Teri Bartholomew of Centreville and Lisa Turner of Lafayette, Colo.; a son, Cris, of San Mateo, Calif.; and his father, Al Bartholomew of Long Beach.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Chuck's book is available on Amazon; a paperback edition was published in 2013.

Class of 1961

Charles is one of 23 members of the Class of 1961 on Virtual Memorial Hall.