American Veteran 04

Lt. Col. Charles Clark O'Brien, USAF retired

August 4, 1928 ~ January 31, 2021 (age 92)


Charles was born in Philadelphia, PA. on August 4th, 1928. He was the son of Michael James O’Brien and Clementine C. O’Brien. He attended parochial schools, St. Joseph College and was a 1951 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. with a BS in Electrical Engineering. After graduation the midshipmen were allowed to choose their branch of service. Charles chose the Air Force.

During his career, he and his family were stationed in Salina, KS, Lincoln, NE, and Washington, DC where he first attended Strategic Intelligence School, and later Spanish Language School. He was chosen as the youngest Asst. Air Attache’ to be sent abroad with his family. It was a two-year tour filled with adventure in New Delhi, India. He was accredited to Nepal and Sri Lanka. Upon returning to the US, he commanded a missile site near Topeka, KS. His next assignment was March AFB in Riverside, CA where he flew KC-135’s. He then was selected to attend Command and Staff College in Norfolk, VA. After graduation it was on to Cape Kennedy, FL where he was recording the launch and re-entry of the Gemini space missions. He then trained for Viet Nam at Luke AFB, AZ and Elgin AFB, FL. Charles departed for a one year tour in Viet Nam flying many missions a week. Afterwards he returned to VA for Spanish Language School in preparation for Teguscegalpa, Honduras as Air Force Section Chief. After his posting in Central America, he was assigned to Scott Field, IL. His final station was in Myrtle Beach, SC.  He was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Medal, the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. 

After retirement from the Air Force, he earned an MS in Social Work and was employed by DSS, South Carolina in Child Protective Services. Charles was an avid squash, racquetball, tennis player and golfer.

Charles was predeceased by his parents, his brother Capt. James M. O’Brien, USN, his brother John C. O’Brien, USN and his son, Alan Doud O’Brien.

He is survived by his wife Donna, his sons F. Scott O’Brien (Angela), Charles Michael O’Brien both of Myrtle Beach, SC and his daughter Heather Coggin (Jeffrey) of Mt. Pleasant, SC; his grandchildren, Chandler Coggin, Mt. Pleasant, SC and Conor O’Brien, Fort Mill, SC. 

He will be buried in a private service with full military honors in Florence National Cemetery.  Cain Calcutt Funeral Home is honored to serve the O’Brien family. 

Our family is most grateful to Hospice Home Care nurses, Brandi and Andrea. To the nurses at Hospice House, there are no words to convey our thanks to Kimberly and especially, to Julie who was a comfort to the very end. Also, Dr. Donald Behling, who is the epitome of a family doctor. He wisely foresaw Charles’s every need. 

Memorials may be made to McLeod Hospice House or the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, class of 1951.






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