Chuck DeBellevue was born in 1945 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Southwestern Louisiana on January 26, 1968, and graduated from Undergraduate Navigator Training in July 1969. After completing combat crew training as a Weapons System Officer in the F-4 Phantom II and a tour with the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, DeBellevue was assigned to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand in October 1971. He flew 220 combat missions as a Laredo High Speed Forward Air Controller and was credited with the destruction of 6 enemy fighters in aerial combat as a WSO during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the MacKay Trophy for the most notable aerial achievement in 1972. In November 1973, DeBellevue graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training and was then assigned to the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. He next served as the assistant operations officer for the 43rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and then served with the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB again. Col DeBellevue held a variety of staff assignments including service with Alaskan Air Command, Headquarters Air Force at the Pentagon, and as Chief of Staff for Fifth Air Force at Yokota AB, Japan. He served as commander of the 432nd Combat Support Group at Misawa AB, Japan, and the 95th Air Base Wing at Edwards AFB, California. His final assignment was as commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 440 at the University of Missouri from 1995 until his retirement from the Air Force on February 1, 1998. Col DeBellevue wears Command Pilot Wings and the Air Force Maintenance Badge, and accumulated over 3,000 flying hours during his Air Force career. He was the highest scoring ace of the Vietnam War and the last American ace on active duty. Chuck is married to the former Sally Kanik of Rancho Cordova, California, and they have three children and two grandchildren.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The Air Force Cross is presented to Charles B. DeBellevue, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-4D Weapon Systems Officer, 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on 9 September 1972. On that date, while protecting a large strike force attacking a high priority target deep in hostile territory, Captain DeBellevue engaged and destroyed a hostile aircraft. Through superior judgment and use of aircraft capabilities, and in complete disregard for his own safety, Captain DeBellevue was successful in destroying his fifth hostile aircraft, a North Vietnamese MIG-19. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Captain DeBellevue reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.