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SP 4 Richard Bradley
Hillis, Charles, Sr., CSM.
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Home Town Campaign
Last Address West Melbourne, Florida
Date of Passing Dec 07, 2009
Location of Interment Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity After retirement Charles attended the Morris College of Business in Melbourne, Florida, and operated a small business until returning to McMinnville in 1982, where he owned and operated a computer training facility. In May, 2008, he moved to Melbourne, Florida where he died at home on December 7, 2009.
Charles was preceded in death by his mother, Florence Bain Hillis, his father, Linzie Hillis, and four brothers J.L. Hillis, Earl Hillis, Bill Hillis, and Barry Hillis.
He is survived by his former wife and mother of his children, Shirley F. (Wiggins) Windham of Melbourne, Florida, and their three children, Charles R. Hillis, Jr. of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Brenda F. Cornman and husband Ron of West Melbourne, FL, and Cynthis H. Wheeler and husband Keith of Lake Mills, WI. Charles had six grandchildren, Aimee and Ryan Cornman of West Melbourne, FL, Sophie Carver of Greenfield, WI, Matthew Wheeler of Madison, WI, Chase Wheeler of Mountain, WI, and Vanessa Wheeler of Boston, MA. He is also survived by three Great-Grandchildren Jayden K. Carver, Madeline E. Carver, and Kyla N. Gress. Charles is also survived by his brother Eddie Hillis and wife Sharon and sisters Marsha Hillis and Linda Durjham and husband Terry.
Other Comments: McMinnville Funeral Home, Locally & Family Owned
Charles Ray Hillis, Sr.
(March 26, 1933 - December 7, 2009)
Mr. Charles Ray Hillis, Sr. Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, Special Forces, (Retired), age 76 of West Melbourne, Florida (Formerly of McMinnville, TN) died Monday, December 07, 2009. He was born on March 26, 1933, in Campaign, TN, to the parents of Linzie and Florence Bain Hillis. Due to complications during live birth, he was named in honor of Dr. Charles M. Clark who was the attending home physician.
He attended the Warren County School System prior to entering the U.S. Army in August 1948 (at 15 years of age) and completed basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in November 1948. Upon completion of basic, he was assigned to occupation duty with the 24th Infantry Division in southern Japan. There he attained the rank of Corporal and was selected to receive International Morse Code Training. He served as high speed radio operator until he was discharged as a minor in October 1949. Reenlisting in the Army in March 1950 (Apparently after his 17th birthday and parents signatures), and volunteered for parachutist and glider training at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating in June 1950. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While serving in the 82nd Airborne, he received his high school equivalency and then received more specialized training in the fields of communications and combat intelligence, and was elected to attend the advance Non-Commissioned Officers Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. Graduating in December 1951, he was further reassigned for duty with the 2nd Battalion, 187th (Airborne) Regimental Combat Team in Korea. While engaged in hand-to-hand combat during the prison riots on Koeji Do Island in May 1952, he was seriously injured and was evacuated to a hospital in Japan. Upon recovery and a short leave, he again volunteered to return to his Regiment in Korea, where he served as a Platoon Sergeant on the front line until the war ended. After the Korean war, he served as Jump School Instructor, Path Finder Platoon Sergeant and First Sergeant with the 11th Airborne Division and the famed 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, until he volunteered for Special Forces Training in 1958. He served with the First Special Forces Group stationed on Okinawa until December 1961. While stationed on Okinawa, he studied the Thai and Laotian languages and received specialized training from the Central Intelligence Agency. He participated in off-island operational exercises in Korea, Phillippines, Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan and served on operational guerrilla warfare teams in Laos and South Vietnam. During the period 1961-1962, he served with the Joint United States Advisory Group in Thailand as Ranger Advisor to the Royal Thailand Army Ranger Battalion in Lophuri, Thailand. Returning to the 1st Special Forces Group on the Island of Okinawa, he served as a Company First Sergeant until his return to the United States. From September 1964 to August 1966, he served as Company First Sergeant at the Armor Training Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Returning to Vietnam in August of 1966, he served two tours of duty with the 2nd Battalion, (Airborne) 12th Cavalry, 1st Airmobile Division (1st Cav Div). His company particiapated in more than seventy-five Combat Air Assaults and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for a singular combat operation. On his second tour, he was seriously wounded in combat and reassigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he served for four years. At West Point, he served on the staff of the Superintendent and was a Cadet Instructor. He attended Orange County Community College and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major shortly after his arrival on the base. After completing his tour at West Point, he was reassigned to duty as a Non-Commissioned-In-Charge (NCOIC) of the U.S. Army Instructor Group at Valley Forge Military Junior College at Wayne, Pennsylvania. There he taught Tactics and Communications, and also served as a Tactical Officer until being reassigned for duty with the Joint United Nations Headquarters in Seoul, Korea. There he served on the Joint Staff under the command of General Richard Stillwell, Commander-In-Chief, United Nations Forces, until returning to the United States in 1976. During the 1976-1978, he served as Non-Commissioned-Officer-In-Charge (NCOIC) of the U.S. Army Instructor Group at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and was honorably discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey in August 1978, where he received the coveted Legion of Merit for Distinguished service.
Besides the above listed awards, Charles Hillis also recieved the Nationalist Chinese Parachutist Badge and the Royal Thai Army Parachutist Badge and Fourtagere.