Charles Erickson was born on January 13, 1947, in Nebraska. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 18, 1967, and completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, in November 1967. He then attended Medical Corpsman training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, from November 1967 to February 1968, Airborne School from February to March 1968 at Fort Benning, Georgia, and then Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from March to August 1968. Sgt Erickson next completed U.S. Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird, Maryland, followed by service as a light weapons leader and reconnaissance team leader with 5th Special Forces Group in South Vietnam from January 1969 to January 1970. His next assignment was as a light weapons leader with Company B, 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from March 1970 to March 1973, and during this time he served on Action Element 2 with Blueboy Assault Group during the Son Tay Raid, a clandestine mission to rescue American Prisoners of War in North Vietnam on November 21, 1970. SFC Erickson next attended Spanish Language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, from May to September 1973, and then served as a light weapons leader with Company C, 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone, from September 1973 to November 1977. He served as a Drill Instructor with the Army ROTC unit at the University of Arizona from November 1977 to December 1980, and then served as First Sergeant of Company C, 2nd Battalion of the 47th Infantry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington, from December 1980 to November 1982. His next assignment was as an Enlisted Advisor and then Senior Enlisted Advisor at the Army Garrison at Fort Lewis from November 1982 to February 1985, and he then attended the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, from February to July 1985. SGM Erickson served as Operations Sergeant Major and then Support Battalion Sergeant Major with 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from August 1985 to June 1986, followed by service as an instructor at the Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss from June 1986 to June 1987. His next assignment was as Command Sergeant Major of 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group on Okinawa from July 1987 to December 1988, and then as Assistant Operations Sergeant Major and then Command Sergeant Major with the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School at Fort Huachuca from December 1988 until his retirement from the Army on November 1, 1994. Chuck Erickson died on February 4, 2015.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in action on 21 November 1970 as a member of an all-volunteer joint U.S. Army and Air Force raiding force in the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed heliborne assault mission to rescue United States military personnel held as prisoners of war at Son Tay prison in North Vietnam. This valiant effort was motivated by deep compassion for his imprisoned fellow men-at-arms, and by a strong sense of military duty and national pride. After exiting from the assault helicopter inside the compound, Sergeant Erickson, realizing that any hesitation would enable the enemy forces with concentrated fire to annihilate his element, vigorously moved to his designated position where he was completely exposed to the enemy weapons fire being received in his area. He valiantly held his position in order to cover the remainder of his element. Detecting an enemy force to his rear preparing to assault the main gate, he immediately countered this threat with intense fire, neutralizing the enemy force. Sergeant Erickson's conscious disregard of his personal safety, extraordinary heroism against an armed hostile force, and extreme devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself and the United States Army.