Sunday, June 23, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Charles “Chuck” Cuson

Prepared by: Sara Smith (daughter)

A native of Flint, Michigan, CAPT Charles E. ‘Chuck’ Cuson was born on August 15, 1930. Graduating from the University of Michigan on a Navy ROTC Scholarship, he was commissioned an Ensign, US Navy Supply Corps, in 1952. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in 1962 and graduated from the Naval War College in 1966.

Following Supply Corps School in Oakland, California, in 1952, CAPT Cuson reported to USS St. Paul (CA-73) as Disbursing Officer, serving during the Korean War. Subsequent assignments included Supply Officer duties in USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717); Special Weapons Unit Pacific, San Diego, California; COMSERVPAC, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, Washington D.C.; US Naval Shipyard, Mare Island, Vallejo, California; and US Naval Supply Center, San Diego.

In 1970, while serving in USS Mars (AFS-1), a forward deployed combat stores ship supporting naval forces in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star (Combat V) for his meritorious efforts in combat replenishment operations.

Ending a tour at Defense Industrial Supply Center (DISC) in Philadelphia in 1973, he received short notice orders to the Defense Attache Office, U.S. Embassy Saigon, as Chief, Navy Supply Section, as the last American forces were departing South Vietnam.

He assumed command of the US Naval Supply Depot in Guam in 1975, serving concurrently as Force Supply Officer on the Commander Naval Forces Mariana Islands staff. He was awarded the Joint Services Commendation Medal for his participation in Operation New Life, processing over 100,000 refugees from Vietnam.

CAPT Cuson finished his career as Director of the Office of Planning and Management Defense Fuel Supply Center in Alexandria, Virgina, retiring in 1979. He was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal in recognition of his distinguished 27 years of naval, joint military, and defense agencies service.

CAPT Cuson enjoyed a second career at the University of Arizona in Tucson teaching Real Estate Finance. He is married to the former Peggee Ann Long of Grundy Center, Iowa. They have a daughter, Sara, and three sons, Matt, Mark, and John. Peggee and Chuck enjoy an active retired life, splitting their time between their home in Coronado and the family farm in Iowa.

The Avenue of Heroes Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 230 hometown heroes to date. On May 20, 2023, another 15 were honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly throughout the city and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Avenue of Heroes program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Bella Villarin
Bella Villarin
Bella is a proud military brat who has been a resident of Coronado since 2015. She was born in Japan, and after a short stay in Virginia, traveled extensively throughout Asia while living in Singapore and picking up another language. A senior at Coronado High School, Bella can be found at the driving range or golf course when not in school, studying, writing, playing the guitar, or spending time with her family. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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