Marine Sgt. Maj. Charles Chamberlain, during the Vietnam War. He
retired from active duty service Oct. 1, 1992, and accepted
positions as a store detective for the Combat Center's Exchange and
as a sports coordinator at the installation's Sports Activities
Center. Courtesy Photo
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (10/28/2012) - He was a recruiter and
marksmanship instructor. He set physical fitness records, and helped
redesign the Corps' obstacle and confidence courses.
Marines just starting their careers at the Combat Center's Marine
Corps Communication-Electronics School. He led others into combat in
Vietnam and during the liberation of Kuwait.
generals for decades and helped develop doctrine that still
influences today's Corps.
For most in Twentynine Palms, he
was not Sgt. Maj. Chamberlain, or even Charles. He was Chuck.
He preferred to spend his time bicycling, lifting weights and
jogging. He ran 10Ks with friends and collected Invicta watches.
He tuned into Z107.7 every morning, and met up with friends at the
town's Jelly Donut for coffee and conversation. He loved sports cars
and watching TV.
He was known for volunteering. He loved
talking about the time he met Bob Hope while working with Toys for
Toward the end of his life, combat-related illnesses
took their toll, and he spent most of his time at home with his wife
of 41 years, Lorraine. He passed away Sept. 9, at the age of 68.
He was referred to as a “community hero.”
At his request, his ashes will be interred in Auburn,
Maine, at a later date.
Chamberlain enlisted in the
Marine Corps Sept. 13, 1962. Once he completed recruit
training, he was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 2nd
In January 1964, he reported for
duty with 1st Bn., 4th Marines. It was with this unit that
he participated in the initial landing at Chu Lai, Vietnam,
May 7, 1965.
Upon his return home in 1966, he was
assigned as a marksmanship instructor at Marine Corps
Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. He was then transferred to
Marine Barracks Subic Bay, Philippines.
returned to Vietnam in March 1969 with 2nd Bn., 9th Marines,
as a platoon commander.
In March 1970, he received
orders to Quantico, Va., where he served as a physical
fitness instructor at the Officer Candidate School.
From there, Chamberlain saw duty as a recruiter in both
Maine and New York, and served at the First Sergeants School
at Parris Island; with 3rd Tank Bn. in Twentynine Palms; and
at the Combat Center's MCCES school house.
1984, Chamberlain reported as the sergeant major for
Headquarters Squadron 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, in
He then returned to 3rd Tank Bn. in
In 1988, Chamberlain reported for duty as
the director for the first Staff Noncommissioned Officers
Academy at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Calif.
In June 1989, he assumed duties as the sergeant major for
7th Marines, and assisted with the unit's relocation to
Twentynine Palms in 1990.
Chamberlain took his post
as the Combat Center Sergeant Major in June 1990, and
deployed to Southwest Asia with the 7th Marine Expeditionary
He retired from active duty service Oct. 1,
1992, and accepted positions as a store detective for the
Combat Center's Exchange and as a sports coordinator at the
installation's Sports Activities Center.
Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps
Comment on this article