Charles enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 23, 1940. He arrived at Pearl Harbor in November of 1940. When he arrived at Pearl Harbor he was assigned to the USS Yorktown and the U.S.S Argonne. When the attack began he was in the post office of the USS Argonne addressing Christmas cards. "As soon as the attack began I heard the boatswain's whistle and the announcement over the ship's P.A. system: ‘All hands man your battle stations now!' I thought to myself, why are they having a drill on Sunday morning?
As he stepped out of the forecastle onto the forward main deck, he saw planes and bomb blasts coming from the battle ship row across the harbor from his ship. When I asked what was going on, a shipmate yelled, "The Japs are attacking us!"
I responded, "I didn't know they were mad at us." Then he went back aboard to get his photo album and a pair of boots he had just purchased, and hid them under a pair of life jackets out on dock 1010. Charles then boarded a motor launch and helped begin lifting the survivors and wounded from the water. "We took them to the Aiea landing to be taken to the naval hospital and we went back for more. I saw some personnel floundering on the other side of some oil fire on the water. Since I was a pretty good swimmer, I thought I would be able to swim under the fire and help them to dry land on Ford Island. As it turned out I didn't quite make it and received 1st degree burns on my face and crude oil in my eyes. I was taken to a dispensary at the officer's club for recovery."
Three days later Charles was sent to the battle ship Arizona to help recover lost seamen. "I wouldn't care to say anymore about this duty." Incidentally, he found his photo album and boots where he had hidden them. After the initial first battles at Pearl Harbor Charles wasn't in any more battles. After receiving his naval discharge in June of 1942, Charles was in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He went to radio school at Truax Field in Madison, WI. and then stayed there after graduating and worked as an instructor until the war ended.
"After the war I worked as a machinist, then as a tool maker, then as a tool designer. Then I went on my own and designed a punch press unloader. I built it and sold it to companies called stamping houses."