The FAAAA was saddened to learn of the death of Captain Charles B Smiley USN who passed away at the age of 73 on 24 June 2016 in the United States.

He served as a LCDR on exchange service with 725 Squadron in the early 60s and was noted because he ditched not one but two of our relatively new Wessex 31As – the first in September 1964 and the second, a few days before he was due to return to the States, in November of the same year.  The incident was recorded in the 725 Squadron Diary as follows:


On return to the USN he flew Sea Kings, progressing to become the Commanding Officer of the Squadron used for primary recovery of Apollo 10 and Apollo 13 lunar missions.  It is a matter of interest that the mannikin pilot in the Sea King aboard the USS Midway museum in San Diego is wearing Chuck’s flight jacket with a 725 Squadron emblem proudly displayed on its right arm.

Chuck featured in the “Personality of the Month” column of Slipstream magazine in May 1963, about a year into his exchange.  The relevant pages can be seen here.