CHARLES R. STAPLER, CDR, USN
Charles Stapler '39
Date of birth: March 17, 1916
Date of death: June 9, 1951
From the 1939 Lucky Bag:
From Find A Grave:
USNA Class of 1939, Commander Stapler was the pilot of a AD-4Q Skyraider Queen with Carrier Air Group 19, flying with Composite Squadron 35 aboard the carrier USS PRINCETON (CV-37). On June 10, 1951, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed north at CT 7756 north of Kumsong.
Composite Squadron Thirty-Five (VC-35) was established 25 May 1950 at NAS San Diego, CA. The squadron was commanded by Cdr. Charles R. Stapler USN, and equipped with Douglas "AD" Skyraider aircraft. The primary mission was to provide anti-submarine detachments to attack aircraft carriers. Teamed with VC-11's AD-3Ws, VC-35 's Skyraiders would provide a hunter-killer capability to embarked air groups. Additional missions included night strike, electronic countermeasures (ECM), as well as search and rescue (SAR).
On 25 June 1950, a month after establishment, North Korea invaded South Korea. Two days later, the United States entered the war and VC-35 's secondary night attack mission became of primary importance; one that would provide a unique combat role for pilots and aircrewmen.
Charles became commander of Air Group 19 when the previous commanding officer, CDR Merrick, was shot down over Korea on May 18, 1951. Charles was flying a AD-4Q Skyraider belonging to Composite Squadron (VC) 35 when he was shot down; the crewman aboard survived the war as a prisoner. He was flying from USS Princeton (CV 37).
He has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander Charles Ramsay Stapler (NSN: 0-82333), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism as Commander, Air Group NINETEEN (CAG-19), and as Pilot of a Night Fighter Aircraft of Composite Squadron THIRTY-FIVE (VC-35), attached to the U.S.S. PRINCETON (CV-37), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea during the early morning hours of darkness on 9 June 1951. Despite low ceilings and practically zero visibility, Commander Stapler voluntarily took off from the PRINCETON on a predawn heckler mission over North Korea. Accompanied by another fighter plane, he carried out several aggressive bombing and strafing attacks against enemy installations and lines of communications in the face of intense hostile anti-aircraft fire. When his plane was struck by a stray burst of enemy fire and started to burn, Commander Stapler remained at the controls where he was last seen by his radar man, who bailed out. By his outstanding leadership, courage and inspiring devotion to duty throughout, Commander Stapler succeeded in inflicting extensive damage and destruction upon the enemy. His actions at all times were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Board Serial 149 (February 15, 1957)
Action Date: 9-Jun-51
Company: Composite Squadron 35 (VC-35)
Regiment: Air Group 19 (CAG-19)
Division: U.S.S. Princeton (CV-37)
Distinguished Flying Cross
From Hall of Valor:
SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander [then Lieutenant] Charles Ramsay Stapler (NSN: 0-82333), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as pilot of a Torpedo Bomber in the Atlantic Area during World War II.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 337 (April 1945)
Action Date: World War II
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Torpedo Squadron