Born in 1929 and raised in Springfield, Oregon, CAPT Charles ‘Charlie’ Cole graduated in 1950 from Oregon State University. Commissioned an Ensign from NROTC, he immediately reported aboard USS Brush (DD-745). Thus began a 30-year naval career spanning two wars.
During the Korean War, the “Brush” was struck by a mine. Ensign Cole was instrumental in saving the lives of many of his shipmates as well as the ship itself. For his heroism, he was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest award for valor. He was subsequently awarded two Bronze Stars, with combat “V” for valor, in Vietnam while serving as Commanding Officer, USS Hollister (DD788).
CAPT Cole’s other shipboard assignments included USS Bedoing Straight (CVE-116); USS Finch (DER-328); USS Carpenter (DD-825); and Chief Engineer, USS Hancock (CVA-19). Shore duty assignments included instructor, curriculum head, and Admissions Board member, US Naval Academy; Chief of Staff, DESFLOT 5; Chief, Mutual Defense Assistance Office, Japan; and Commanding Officer, Naval Inactive Ships Facility, Bremerton, Washington.
Retiring in 1979, CAPT Cole embarked on an equally distinguished civilian career. He first served as Executive Director of the Business Regulation Study Center, University of Oregon. He subsequently became an adjunct professor and Director of Computing Activities before rising to the University’s Director of the International Business Program, Graduate School of Management. As director, he originated, implemented, and conducted graduate level international business courses and assisted local small businesses expand into exporting
CAPT Cole’s community service spanned decades as a county, state, and national appointee; Rotary District Governor and Rotary International senior advisor; senior officer in the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA); and founding member of Mothers
Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
An individual of incredibly diverse and distinguished service both in and out of uniform, CAPT Cole has tirelessly given of himself and is most deserving of the many accolades received along the way. Married for 66 years to Colleen, CAPT Cole is an unabashedly proud husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. To all who know him, Charlie is a man much accomplished, much respected, and much loved.