by LTC Charles L. Childs, Sr. (USAAF-USAF ret)
Following his second year at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Charles L. Childs, Jr., (1946-2010) joined the U.S. Army. He applied for Officer's Training School and was commissioned a second lieutenant at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1967. During his military career, Chuck served in Germany twice, working with the German Army in nuclear weapons and later as a Battery Commander of a Nike Hercules Missile Unit.
In Vietnam, he was a member of the Military Assistance Command in the Phong Dien District. As a Senior Advisor to the Vietnam Army, Chuck was a member of a special unit of sharpshooters from the Vietnamese Army. He logged 300 hours of missions in helicopters locating Viet Cong.
While serving in this area, he and his team visited villages, advising them on infantry offensive tactics, security, medical and nursing skills. They also taught farmers how to plant rice utilizing tractors. A Senior Advisor to the People's Self Defense Force, his team taught over 2,000 young Vietnamese girls, ages 14 to 17, how to use weapons to protect their villages from Viet Cong assaults.
Following his Vietnam tour, he was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, for advanced Missile Training and then as a part of The Military Boot Strap Program he was sent back to the South Dakota School of Mines, where he graduated as a Civil Engineer in 1973. While there as a student and a Captain in the U.S. Army, he volunteered to work in the disastrous flood of 1972, assisting with the discovery and removal of those killed in the flood. He was awarded the Soldier's Medal for this service. It is the highest award given to any Army military person that distinguishes themselves by heroism not performed in actual combat.
Returning from his second tour in Germany Chuck went to New Jersey as a Project Director for new military weapon systems for the U.S. Army. In 1979, he left military service. During his military career he was awarded the Soldier's Medal, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, was twice awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with a bronze star, and the Meritorious Service Medal. Chuck then worked for Honeywell and other defense system companies in Minneapolis, where he was a weapons designer.