Charlie Zuhoski was born in 1941 in New York City. After earning his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, he entered Officer Candidate School on October 14, 1964, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy at Newport, Rhode Island, on March 5, 1965. Ens Zuhoski next completed flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Kingsville, Texas, on August 23, 1966, followed by F-8 Crusader Replacement Air Group training with VF-124 at NAS Miramar, California, from August 1966 to March 1967. He then served as an F-8 pilot with VF-111 at NAS Miramar from March to June 1967, and then deployed with VF-111 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CV-34) from June 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on July 31, 1967. After spending 2,054 days in captivity, LT Zuhoski was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized at the Naval Hospital in St. Albins, New York, and then attended refresher pilot training at NAS Kingsville from August to December 1973. His next assignment was as an instructor pilot with VF-126 at NAS Miramar from December 1973 to August 1976, followed by Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, where he received his master's degree in Operations Research/Systems Analysis in September 1978. CDR Zuhoski served as an operations research and systems analysis staff member with the Operations Study Group in the Center for Naval Analysis from September 1978 to February 1980, and then as Senior Systems Analyst in the Tactical Air Division, Office of the Director for Program Analysis and Evaluation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon from February 1980 through October 1982. His final assignment was as a staff action officer, analyst, briefer, and simultaneously as a Branch Chief in the Joint Force Allocation and Analysis Division, Joint Analysis Directorate with the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon from November 1982 until his retirement from the Navy on November 1, 1985. After his retirement from the Navy, Charlie worked for United Technologies Corporation for five years, and then with the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm, where he retired as a Senior Vice President. He currently continues to provide assistance to Booz Allen as a Senior Executive Advisor.
His Legion of Merit w/Valor Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from July 1967 to March 1973. By his diligent efforts, devotion and loyalty to the United States and under the most adverse of conditions, he resisted all attempts by the North Vietnamese to use him in causes detrimental to the United States. While in daily contact with the North Vietnamese guards and officers, he performed duties in staff positions and maintained good order and discipline among the prisoners. Further, he served as an educator providing diversion and constructive rehabilitative thinking to his fellow prisoners during their long internment. Despite harsh treatment and a lack of material aids, he devoted long hours toward improving their morale and well-being as a member of the entertainment group. His extraordinary skill, resourcefulness, and dedication to duty throughout his lengthy confinement reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.