A visitation will be held on Friday, August 26, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 8:30 pm, at Erikson & Brown Funeral Home.   Graveside services will be held the following day, Saturday, at 9:00 am at the Westside Cemetery in Taft, with a reception to follow at the OT Cookhouse in Taft, the family would like all to join to share their stories.  

LT. COL. CHARLES S. HUDSON, RET.

Lt. Col. Charles S. Hudson, Ret., passed away of natural causes August 20, 2011, in Niles , Michigan  two weeks short of his 96th birthday.  Charles “Combat” Hudson was born on Sept 4, 1915, in Taft, CA, to Stephen Carey Hudson and Margaret Cogan.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Mary V. (Sims) Hudson, 2 sisters, Margaret Dunn, Francis Blanch, 3 brothers, William C. Hudson, Richard Hudson and David Hudson, and his son Terry B. Hudson.  He is survived by his son & his wife Stephen Calvin Hudson & Noreen M. Tripp- Hudson, daughter- in- law Sherry A. Hudson,    6 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 

Charlie attended elementary school in Taft and graduated from Taft Union High School in 1934, and attended Taft Junior College.  He learned to fly at the Taft airport.  He worked in the oil fields, was a butcher for Hall’s Meat Market in Taft, a pro-boxer, a W.W. II bombardier, a restaurant owner of the Buckhorn Ranchhouses in Taft (now OT Cookhouse), Bakersfield, and New Cuyama.  (The City of Taft gave to him as a gift the keys to his first Buckhorn when he returned from W.W. II as a gift), and he owned Charmin’ Charlie’s in Ventura. He was also flew exotic animals from South America in a Vultee1A once owned by Randolph Hearst.  He was PGA golf pro for the Saticoy Public Links near Ventura, Jackson Lakes golf course in Lemoore and the Polvadero golf course in Coalinga,
 Charlie was also a genuine W.W. II war hero.  According to the Smithsonian Institution, Charlie became the number one bombardier during World War II while flying 37 missions during two tours between 1942-46 in B-17 bombers for the Eighth Air Force, 91st bomb group stationed in Bassingbourn, England, and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel unheard of for a bombardier.   He was the most highly decorated bombardier in the Europea

n theater.  His experiences are well documented in the book he wrote called “Combat he Wrote’.   

In combat he earned 17 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross. Having earned this nation’s second highest medal, he was a member of the very select group, The Legion of Valor, the 116th person to receive this honor.  He was also awarded three Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat; the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters.  By order of LT. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle Charlie was awarded the Air Medal with two clusters.  He was also awarded by the French government it’s prestigious Croix de Guerre medal.    He also received four Presidential Unit Citations, and the European theater ribbon with six battle stars.

He was also awarded a medal from the California Air Force Association for Meritorious Service Award for his efforts to raise funds to finance the construction of the W.W.II War Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Air Force Association formed a Chapter in Bakersfield, called the Charles S. Hudson Chapter 126.

During his lifetime Charlie was also involved in the daring airborne rescue of two men from a federal prison in Mexico, one of which was a multi-millionaire Joel Kaplan, on which a motion picture was based on called “Breakout”, and another motion picture “Memphis Belle” was based on many of his combat adventures.

Our beloved Dad, Grandfather, and friend will be missed dearly, and our nation has lost a war hero and a valued piece of history.  The Lord has welcomed home his flyer.

 A visitation will be held on Friday, August 26, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 8:30 pm, at Erikson & Brown Funeral Home.   Graveside services will be held the following day, Saturday, at 9:00 am at the Westside Cemetery in Taft, with a reception to follow at the OT Cookhouse in Taft, the family would like all to join to share their stories.