CHARLES G. STRAHLEY, LTJG, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Charles Strahley '48

Date of birth: April 8, 1926

Date of death: March 21, 1952

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1948 Lucky Bag:

1948-B 1st Company
1948 Strahley LB 1.jpg
Cadet-Midshipman Exchange Weekend Underway. Over a friendly cup of coffee, two West Pointers compare points of view with their Midshipman host. Eighty Cadets travelled to Annapolis to follow the routine of classes, drills, and liberty with their Midshipmen counterparts, and at the same time, an equal number of Midshipmen visited West Point. Left to right: Cadet Charles Sunder, Oakford, Jeannette, Pa.; Midshipman Charles G. Strahley, Brigade Sub Commander, Drexel Hill, Pa.; and Cadet Richard Stein, N.Y. City. [#4624; 225K]

Loss

From Find A Grave:

During the Korean War, he was a pilot of a F9F-2 Pantherjet fighter with Fighter Squadron 52, aboard the aircraft carrier USS VALLEY FORGE (CV-45). On March 21, 1952, he led a flight against an enemy rail network near Hamhung, North Korea. Although his aircraft was struck several times by enemy anti-aircraft fire, he continued the attack until his aircraft was destroyed. He bailed out but became entangled in the shrouds of his parachute in the water and drowned. His remains were not recovered.

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Charles Glasgow Strahley (NSN: 0-513261), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Fighter Squadron FIFTY-TWO (VF-52), embarked in U.S.S. VALLEY FORGE (CV-45), in action against hostile North Korean and Chinese Communist forces. On 21 March 1952, Lieutenant, Junior Grade Strahley led a section of jet fighters on a strike against the vital enemy rail network in the vicinity of Hamhung, North Korea, With the highest skill and precision, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Strahley destroyed sections of the track in four separate locations on four attacks. On the fourth attack, made through a hail of crossfire from automatic weapons, his aircraft was struck in several vital locations, and immediately began trailing smoke indicating an engine fire. However, the smoke dissipated shortly afterward and Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Strahley unhesitatingly returned to the target to make four more attacks, severing the enemy rail track in two more vital sections. As he recovered from his last attack, Lieutenant, Junior Grade,. Strahley's aircraft was again critically struck by a barrage of automatic weapons fire causing a dense fire in the engine compartment and the plane to erupt volumes of heavy smoke, whereupon he immediately flew a direct course to the coastline. By the time he was safely clear of enemy territory, however, his cockpit was enveloped in flames and he was forced to bail out. His body was seen to strike the horizontal stabilizer and though his parachute opened normally his body was not recovered. The gallant fighting spirit demonstrated by Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Strahley in the face of grave peril, coupled with the hazard of making several attacks in a flak-damaged aircraft is most evident of unbounded courage and bravery. His actions reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 1602 (July 1, 1952)
Action Date: March 21, 1952
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Company: Fighter Squadron 52 (VF-52)
Division: U.S.S. Valley Forge (CV-45)

Family

Several sites list him as unmarried. He is named in a poorly-scanned copy of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in 1950 describing a wedding; possible he was a member of the wedding party.

Other

An aviation illustrator and artist chose Charles' name for his illustration of a F9F-2.

F9F-2 BuNo.127178 V110 (VF-111) flown by Lt(jg) Charles G. Strahley of VF-52, USS Valley Forge, 2 May, 1952

Related Articles

Edward Supancic '48 and Robert Smith '48 were also on the same page of the 1948-B Lucky Bag, which was organized by state.

James Strother '48 was also in 1st Company.

David Swenson, Jr. '48 and Robert Smith '48 were also also on the football team.


Class of 1948

Charles is one of 46 members of the Class of 1948 in Memorial Hall.