Daytona Beach, FL – A WWII veteran from Daytona Beach was honored at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Tuesday morning. Captain John Richard Charles, 94, was formally presented with the Air Medal, which is awarded for heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight in or with the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.
The son of a World War I veteran, Charles was also presented with three additional medals – American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal that his son, Bill, recently discovered his father earned, but never received.
During his time in the Navy, Charles flew transport aircraft in the U.S. Army Air Corps. According to the Air Medal citation, Charles exhibited professional skill, courage and steadfast devotion to duty which reflected great credit upon himself and the Army Air Forces.
Charles wore his original khaki Garrison cap from WWII for the ceremony. Charles said he appreciated Embry-Riddle, the Navy and his sons, Bill and Rick Charles, for the ceremony and was astounded “that people cared enough to go through all this trouble to just honor me.”
“I thought I was long gone and forgotten,” Charles said.