Charles "Chuck" D. Severns
Final Flight on February 22, 2007
Charles (CHUCK) D. Severns MSgt, USAF (Retired)
July 23, 1933 - February 22, 2007
December 1952 - December 1972
A long time resident of Chula Vista, CA, he died at his home on February 22, 2007, after an extended illness. He was 73. He was preceded in death by his parents the Rev. Charles W. and Ruth (Price) Severns, and also by the mother of his three sons, Carolyn (Aarlie) Severns. Survivors include, his wife, Veronica Severns, three sons, Kenneth, Keith and Kevin Severns all of Chula Vista and three stepchildren Angela Land, Sean and Todd Theriac and one sister Marianne Fraticelli of Pleasanton, CA and six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He proudly served in the USAF 1952-1972, retiring January 1, 1973 during which time he received multiple service awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
He graduated from Southwestern College with an AS in Electronics and from National University with a BA in Health Services Administration. He was the first Certified Biomedical technician employed by Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center where he worked for 18 1/2 years as the department supervisor and was Assistant Director of Engineering.
Visitation will be at Glen Abbey in Bonita, CA, Wednesday evening at the Chapel of the Roses, from 5-9 p.m. Services will be held at University Christian Church, Thursday at 1 p.m. with military honors to follow at Glen Abbey. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the University Christian Church Scholarship Fund, which was started by his father.
Chuck died of cancer at his home in Chula Vista, California, with his wife Veronica at his side at 3:05 a.m. on the morning of February 22, 2007.
Chuck at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, July 1964 (Jim Burns photo)
I met Chuck in June 1964 when I was sent from Clark AB, PI on a TDY assignment to Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, known as NKP. We were part of the first USAF Air Rescue unit sent into Southeast Asia in the early days of the Vietnam War. The three HH-43B’s at NKP and most of the crews were from the 33rd Air Rescue Squadron at Naha AB and Chuck was part of that unit and had came with the helicopters to NKP.
Chuck and I hit it off right away and became good friends during our TDY at NKP. After my TDY at NKP was over in November 1964 I returned to Clark AB and my unit, the 31st ARS and lost track of Chuck and did not hear from him again until sometime around 2001.
Around that time Chuck and I made contact over the internet and had renewed our friendship via the long distance email route. Exchanging stories of our families, our carriers and people we had each known as we moved from place to place during our military careers. Over the last year Chuck and I both becaCme members of “Rotorheads”, a group of USAF maintainers and flight crews where we begin expanding our military friendship contacts.
After Chuck’s departure from NKP in 1964 he served another tour in the Vietnam War (1969-1970) as a flight engineer on the HH-3E “Jolly Green” and was involved in numerous rescue and recovery missions. Chuck had sent me this photo of him and his crew that was involved in the successful rescue of “Misty 51”, an F-100F FAC that had been shot down over North Vietnam on 1 April 69.
Chuck had retired and was living with his wife, Veronica, in Chula Vista, CA. He had been battling cancer for some time and had gone into remission after long and grueling series of chemo-therapy treatments. Then on a follow up visit about a year or so ago his doctors discovered the cancer had returned to different areas of his body and new treatments were begun, but soon it was realized that Chuck would not be able to win his battle this time.
I would frequently email Chuck offering him my prayers and trying to find ways to comfort him, finding my-self totally at a loss at times as to what to say that could help. All I knew to do was to be there for him when he wanted to share some of what he was going through. I hope in some way I helped to ease his journey through his final months.
I received an email on the morning of February 24, 2007 from Veronica telling me that Chuck had passed away at home with her at his side at 3:05 a.m. on the morning of February 22, 2007.
Chuck had sent me this recent photo of him with his great-grand-son, Eryn. Eryn was two months old in this picture on February 14 2006. Chuck was at the 1st birthday party of his great-grand-daughter when this photo was taken. She turned two years old on February 14, 2007…eight days before Chuck passed away.
As the cycle of life continues and new lives enter a family circle and other lives leave a family circle, we honor and celebrate the lives of those who have passed on.
I know Chuck’s personal family will miss him dearly and I know that they will honor, cherish and celebrate his life.
I too, will miss Chuck and am greatly saddened by his death. Chuck was a warrior in the service of his country and was very accomplished in his career. It has been an extreme honor and privilege for me to have served with Chuck in the USAF as a member of the Air Force helicopter family. I will remember and celebrate the life of Chuck Severns as long as I live.
My greatest honor was to have Chuck as a friend and I will miss him.
February 24, 2007
Chucks first rescue
Rear Lt-Rt: Don Dineen, covering A-1 pilot of 6th SOS from DaNang, Mohawk observer Bob Christianson, his pilot Norman Svarrer, his wing man Capt. Seely, and second A-1 pilot, Carl Richards. Christianson and Svarrer ejected and were rescued within minutes of shootdown near Kham Duc.
Front Lt-Rt: The HH-3E crew from the 37th ARRS was, from left: Pilot: Capt. Jon Hannan, Copilot: Maj. Robert Shular, PJ: Eugene Nardi, FE: Charles Severns. (Names provided by Wayne Mutza)
Chuck will be missed by those that knew him and will never be forgotten. So long fellow "ROTORHEAD" we will someday meet again.
I never met Chuck however through our assocation with the ROTORHEADS I feel as if we have been life long friends.
Chuck was proud of his service to our country and his dedicated efforts were evident in the number of rescues he was a part of. Chuck was a vital member of a team that accomplished many rescues, both in combat and in peace time.
This picture is one that Chuck sent which is one of many rescues he participated in while assigned to Naha AB Okinawa.
Chuck was a true warrior and enjoyed his work in the Air Force living up to the motto: "That Others May Live".
Several of Chuck's more memorable Air Force experiences have been posted on the Blog.
February 28, 2007