Charles Joseph Beck

Beck, Charles Joseph
July 23, 1919 - Aug. 28, 2011

Colonel Charles Joseph Beck, 92, of Punta Gorda, formerly of Sarasota, and Bradenton, died Aug. 28, 2011.
Services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Survivors include his daughter, Becky Bovell of Punta Gorda; a son, Thomas C of Eugene, Ore.; son-in-law, Paul T. Raffa; daughter-in-law, Marie N.; three grandchildren and two great grandchildren
Col. Beck was married for 65 years to the former Norvella (Vel) June Judd of Markleville, Ind. A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Col. Beck was the only child of Charles Christopher and Mary Louise (Taylor) Beck. Col. Beck was a graduate of Shortridge High School, the Air Staff Intelligence course at the Air University, the Senior Officers Management course at George Washington University, the University of Maryland and the Industrial War College of the Armed Forces, Washington. D.C. Col. Beck received his wings as a sergeant pilot in June 1942 and was commissioned in June 1943. In a highly unusual military ascension, rose through the ranks and was awarded his eagles as a full Colonel in April 1953. He was one of the elite corps known as the "Flying Staff Sergeants" who were honored by congress in 1971. As a squadron commander during World War II, Col. Beck spent 25 months in the south pacific, participating in the Solomon's, New Guinea, Ryukus and Philippines' campaigns, accumulating more that 600 combat hours. Col. Beck's decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. The majority of his flying experience was in multi-engine aircraft including hundreds of hours as a B-52 pilot. In April of 1947, he was assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Walker AFB, New Mexico, which was at that time the only atomic wing in the USAF. In 1949, Col. Beck was selected as a charter member of the Combat Evaluation Group. and then served as Director of Operations and Deputy Wing commander at Offutt AFB, NE., SAC headquarters for three years Col. Beck was selected as one of the three Commanders charged with developing new bases in Spain. He was Liaison officer with the Spanish Military for the Joint United States Military Group, in addition to Base Commander of Moron, Spain. This assignment was one of the most challenging of his career given the delicate political climate under the dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. He oversaw the transformation of an olive grove into a fully operational bomber and fighter base. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the Cruz del Merito by the Spanish Government. Col. Beck served as Base Commander and Vice Wing Commander of the 92nd Bomb Wing, Fairchild AFB, WA; commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, Travis AFB, CA; Commander of the 68th Bomb Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC; and Director of Maintenance at Ogden AFB, UT. Col. Beck retired from the U.S. Air Force after 31-1/2 years of service in 1973.
Memorial gifts should be donated to the Salvation Army, 2120 Loveland Blvd., Port Charlotte, FL. 33980.
Friends and family are invited to visit www.nationalcremationsociety.com to sign the guest book

Published in Herald Tribune from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2011