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Cossack13
09-09-2004, 09:39 AM
Forwarded from a private e-mail:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Charles B. (Chuck) Earnhart, May 15, 1918 - September 1, 2004.

The other day, one of my best friend's dad passed away. Most knew Chuck as a good and gentle hog farmer or real estate agent from the tiny town of Hohenwald, Tennessee. But few knew how much he did for the people of Great Britain or the United States.

At the age of 21, Chuck loved to fly and already had his private pilot's license. He loved to fly so much that on his very first date with his future wife, Janice, he took her to fly in his own airplane. Janice was impressed and smitten frm the beginning.

When the war started on September 1, 1939, Chuck knew that he was destined to fly and fight in the war. He was one of about 300 young pilots who went to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. About half of those 300 paid the ultimate sacrifice defeating Nazism. Chuck was quickly sent through flight school and the RCAF recognized him as an outstanding pilot and sent him to learn to fly the fighters.

By early spring of 1940, Chuck had mastered the Spitfire, Typhoon [sic], and Hurricane fighter airplanes and by the time the Battle of Britain was in full swing, Chuck was flying two and three multi-hour missions each day. Before the U.S. entered the war, Chuck's airplane had been shot up several times and shot down once, parachuting safely down in England. But Chuck gave back better than he got racking up 4 1/2 kills (the 1/2 was a shared kill with a wingman).

Chuck joined the US Army Air Corps as soon as they came to England and was eventually assigned to fly the P-47D Thunderbolt, but he sorely missed the nimbleness of the Spitfire and flew escort for the bombers over Europe for the next two years.

In his official flight log, Chuck flew three missions on June 6, 1944 for a total of 11 flight hours. Because of the ruggedness and bomb carrying payload of the P-47, Chuck's main job was close air support of troops and ground attack.

On June 28, 1944, the odds caught up with him and on a strafing mission over Belgium at an altitude of only 50 feet, a lucky shot to the engine forced Chuck to crash land his plane. His unit listed him as MIA. The people of a nearby village rushed to his aid and were able to rescue the injured and unconscious airman and hid him in their small village.

When the Germans came, they were furious and demanded that the villagers turn him over. The villagers played dumb (despite the fact that they were obviously the ones who rescued Chuck) and the Germans executed two young men in their anger but they did not tell where Chuck was.

Over the next several weeks while the Allies advanced and Chuck healed enough to move around, he learned of the sacrifice of the two young men desite their efforts to not bother him with their deaths. Chuck promised that they had not died in vain and vowed to make their sacrifice worth it. When the Allied advance was close enough to him, Chuck lierally walked through the front lines and back into friendly hands. For that he earned the right to wear a small patch in the shape of a pair of boots.

It was six months after he was shot down before he was allowed to fly again and before the end of the war, in addition to the Purple Heart earned in the crash, he had racked up four more combat kills, a Distinguised Service medal four Air Combat medals (one for each 25 combat missions), and several other medals from the people of Great Britain (please pardon me if I get them wrong). Chuck was never officially recognized as an ace despite the fact that he had 8 1/2 kills because of his service in two different services.

Being a true hero, he never said a word about this injustice so several years ago I tried to get official recognition for that feat but as many of you know, a fire at the St. Louis military records archives destroyed a large number of veterans records and apparently Chuck's were among them and I came to a dead end.

Before his death, Chuck had expressed his desires that no extraordinary means be used to extend his life and on September 1, 2004, Chuck passed quietly away at home with those he loved near him. He was a humble Christian and there is no doubt that he is heaven with those who went before him. He was buried with military honors next to Janice who had passed away 11 years earlier. He is survived by his adopted son, Robert and Robert's two daughters.

Chuck was one of the men about whom Winston Churchill spoke when he said, "Never have so many owed so much to so few".

And I pray that we never forget. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
S!

Cossack13
09-09-2004, 09:39 AM
Forwarded from a private e-mail:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Charles B. (Chuck) Earnhart, May 15, 1918 - September 1, 2004.

The other day, one of my best friend's dad passed away. Most knew Chuck as a good and gentle hog farmer or real estate agent from the tiny town of Hohenwald, Tennessee. But few knew how much he did for the people of Great Britain or the United States.

At the age of 21, Chuck loved to fly and already had his private pilot's license. He loved to fly so much that on his very first date with his future wife, Janice, he took her to fly in his own airplane. Janice was impressed and smitten frm the beginning.

When the war started on September 1, 1939, Chuck knew that he was destined to fly and fight in the war. He was one of about 300 young pilots who went to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. About half of those 300 paid the ultimate sacrifice defeating Nazism. Chuck was quickly sent through flight school and the RCAF recognized him as an outstanding pilot and sent him to learn to fly the fighters.

By early spring of 1940, Chuck had mastered the Spitfire, Typhoon [sic], and Hurricane fighter airplanes and by the time the Battle of Britain was in full swing, Chuck was flying two and three multi-hour missions each day. Before the U.S. entered the war, Chuck's airplane had been shot up several times and shot down once, parachuting safely down in England. But Chuck gave back better than he got racking up 4 1/2 kills (the 1/2 was a shared kill with a wingman).

Chuck joined the US Army Air Corps as soon as they came to England and was eventually assigned to fly the P-47D Thunderbolt, but he sorely missed the nimbleness of the Spitfire and flew escort for the bombers over Europe for the next two years.

In his official flight log, Chuck flew three missions on June 6, 1944 for a total of 11 flight hours. Because of the ruggedness and bomb carrying payload of the P-47, Chuck's main job was close air support of troops and ground attack.

On June 28, 1944, the odds caught up with him and on a strafing mission over Belgium at an altitude of only 50 feet, a lucky shot to the engine forced Chuck to crash land his plane. His unit listed him as MIA. The people of a nearby village rushed to his aid and were able to rescue the injured and unconscious airman and hid him in their small village.

When the Germans came, they were furious and demanded that the villagers turn him over. The villagers played dumb (despite the fact that they were obviously the ones who rescued Chuck) and the Germans executed two young men in their anger but they did not tell where Chuck was.

Over the next several weeks while the Allies advanced and Chuck healed enough to move around, he learned of the sacrifice of the two young men desite their efforts to not bother him with their deaths. Chuck promised that they had not died in vain and vowed to make their sacrifice worth it. When the Allied advance was close enough to him, Chuck lierally walked through the front lines and back into friendly hands. For that he earned the right to wear a small patch in the shape of a pair of boots.

It was six months after he was shot down before he was allowed to fly again and before the end of the war, in addition to the Purple Heart earned in the crash, he had racked up four more combat kills, a Distinguised Service medal four Air Combat medals (one for each 25 combat missions), and several other medals from the people of Great Britain (please pardon me if I get them wrong). Chuck was never officially recognized as an ace despite the fact that he had 8 1/2 kills because of his service in two different services.

Being a true hero, he never said a word about this injustice so several years ago I tried to get official recognition for that feat but as many of you know, a fire at the St. Louis military records archives destroyed a large number of veterans records and apparently Chuck's were among them and I came to a dead end.

Before his death, Chuck had expressed his desires that no extraordinary means be used to extend his life and on September 1, 2004, Chuck passed quietly away at home with those he loved near him. He was a humble Christian and there is no doubt that he is heaven with those who went before him. He was buried with military honors next to Janice who had passed away 11 years earlier. He is survived by his adopted son, Robert and Robert's two daughters.

Chuck was one of the men about whom Winston Churchill spoke when he said, "Never have so many owed so much to so few".

And I pray that we never forget. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
S!

BSS_Goat
09-09-2004, 09:53 AM
S!

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Patriotism is your conviction
that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it
--George Bernard Shaw

mean_mango
09-09-2004, 10:06 AM
That was a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing. My sincere sympathies go out to his family.

El Turo
09-09-2004, 10:11 AM
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______________________
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crazyivan1970
09-09-2004, 11:28 AM
RIP

V!
Regards,

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VFC*Crazyivan aka VFC*HOST

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Kozhedub: In combat potential, the Yak-3, La-7 and La-9 fighters were indisputably superior to the Bf-109s and Fw-190s. But, as they say, no matter how good the violin may be, much depends on the violinist. I always felt respect for an enemy pilot whose plane I failed to down.

Capt._Tenneal
09-09-2004, 11:33 AM
A touching and inspiring story.

Here's to Chuck. He's probably in the great pub in the sky now having a cold one with the two German villagers who were unjustly executed. S! to all three.

Ashoka74
09-09-2004, 11:47 AM
Salute and thanks!

Fliegeroffizier
09-09-2004, 12:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>By early spring of 1940, Chuck had mastered the Spitfire, Typhoon [sic], and Hurricane fighter airplanes and by the time the Battle of Britain was in full swing, Chuck was flying two and three multi-hour missions each day. Before the U.S. entered the war, Chuck's airplane had been shot up several times and shot down once, parachuting safely down in England. But Chuck gave back better than he got racking up 4 1/2 kills (the 1/2 was a shared kill with a wingman).

Chuck joined the US Army Air Corps as soon as they came to England <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I salute the gentleman, but am a bit confused on this part of the biography, specifically concerning the Battle of Britain...perhaps I am misreading that portion of your post.

I had done some considerable research a year or more ago
on Americans who flew in the Battle of Britain. More recently I revisited the subject, mainly to refresh my memory about Billy Fiske, the one who died and about whom there is a movie being made[the subject of the movie and its actor Tom Cruise has been beaten to death on several other threads on this and other forums] Such research is a bit tricky, made especially so by pilots of one nationality flying as members of another nations Service; thus, the records/statistics get a bit blurry at times.

Two sites with apparently very accurate and complete data on BofB participants(of all nationalities and services)are linked below; neither shows Mr Earnhardts name.
http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/roll.html

http://www.battleofbritain.net/bobhsoc/aircrew/pilots-ae.html

The following link is to a discussion of Americans who participated as RAF pilots, plus the one(Brown) who flew as an RCAF pilot.

http://www.taphilo.com/history/BofBamericanpilots.shtml

Here is a very detailed account of all the Americans who participated. This Site is an EXCELLENT source of information about the BofB:
http://www.the-battle-of-britain.co.uk/nationalities/American.htm


Here is a link to Canadian pilots during the BattleOfBritain:
http://www.the-battle-of-britain.co.uk/nationalities/Canadian.html

It would appear that Mr Earnhardt must have arrived in the UK sometime after the formal end of the Battle of Britain, 31 Oct 1940.


Here is an Outstanding site about the "Eagle" squadrons(71,121,and133), complete with full rosters of the american pilots therein. The first of the Eagle Squadrons was formed in Sep1940, and they were deactivated in Sep 1942 when they were incorporated into the USAAF. Unfortunately, once again Mr Earnhardt's name does not appear among the 244 Americans in these Eagle Squadrons.
It would appear that he must have remained "Canadian"/RCAF on the books throughout his time prior to joining the USAAF(in 1942??)...
http://www.fourthfightergroup.com/eagles/es.html

Unfortunate if his name/record has fallen thru the crack...Perhaps there might have been a logbook of his early days in 1940...

Tooz_69GIAP
09-09-2004, 01:05 PM
I noticed that too flieger. I checked the RAF BoB site, and Earnhart is not listed there. Would be good if we knew which unit he flew with in the RCAF.

It does seem odd though that with 8.5 kills, simply because they were achieved in two seperate air forces, he would not be officially recognised as an ace. I wonder how many other US fliers who joined up fell through this loophole and weren't given the rank of ace.

But it certainly seems that Chuck lived a long and full life, and that is all any of us can hope for.

whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

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Tooz_69GIAP
09-09-2004, 01:07 PM
Ah, I just checked the RAF BoB site again. It only lists those pilots who were enlisted in the RAF. It does not seem to include pilots enlisted in the RCAF. This could be why he's not listed on that site.

whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

http://www.baseclass.modulweb.dk/69giap/fileadmin/Image_Archive/badges/69giap_badge_tooz.jpg (http://giap.webhop.info)
Executive Officer, 69th GIAP
Za Rodinu!
Petition to stop the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne Valley in Co. Meath, Ireland (http://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/petition.html)

Chuck_Older
09-09-2004, 01:14 PM
Hope he's home now

Udidtoo
09-09-2004, 01:38 PM
I always thought this one most appropriate for pilots.

Do not stand by my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain

When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the stars that shine in the night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die

..............................
I always have just enough fuel to arrive at the scene of my crash.

Capt.England
09-09-2004, 01:38 PM
S!

Nice to hear about hero's, who are willing to help people in other country's, defeat evil. Maybe it's about time we had a monument to these forgotten airmen that helped us in our darkest hour.

Britwhiner No.1