On Friday, January 24th 2003, Sergeant First Class Charles W. Blue II stood at attention in front of his Commanding Officer for the last time. After 20 years of service to his country, SFC Chuck Blue, also know as Skymonkeyone in the skydiving community, retired from the U.S. Army.
As witness to the fact that there was a large crowd at Chuck's retirement ceremony, one could tell that he was a well respected member of his unit and among the people in Raeford and Ft. Bragg. Amongst the group watching the ceremony were his fellow soldiers, friends, skydiving buddies, past roommates, girlfriend Katie Sell and family members. Earlier in the week, Katie had phoned Chuck's father and step-mother to let them know about Chuck's retirement, but she wasn't sure they were going to be able to come. Five minutes before the ceremony was to begin, Buddy, the DZO of Skydive Opelika in Alabama, and Diane Blue walked through the doors, surprising everyone in the room but most of all Chuck.
During the ceremony, Chuck's Commanding Officer recited Chuck's military history and then he said many kind words about the type of soldier Chuck was. Finally, Chuck was presented with a medal, and a large framed collage documenting the different areas in which Chuck became proficient during his tenure in the Army. The ceremony ended with a long receiving line of everyone giving Chuck their well wishes and he gave every person a big hug in return. One could tell from the grin on Chuck's face that his retirement was a moment he was quite happy to be experiencing.
Once the ceremony was over, it was time to party in true Skymonkey fashion and it was declared that everyone was to "drink like Vikings!" The ceremony and party were both held at Aviator's Bar and Grill on the Raeford dropzone located at the P.K. Airpark in Raeford, N.C. A delicious buffet dinner was provided for all of the partygoers, including desserts made by Katie herself. There were many shots and toasts abound, all saluting the man of the evening making it a very celebratory time. To add to the festivities, the Bob Steele Band, a rock/blues band, performed for the remainder of the night. The band brought the house down with their smooth, rocking sound, and got the crowd to dance the night away helping the party continue well into the morning. All in all, it was a great way to honor an amazing soldier, skydiver and man.
SFC Blue enlisted in the army on 23 October 1981 on the delayed entry program. He then entered active duty on 2 August 1982 after graduating from Beauregard High School in Opelika, Alabama.
Upon completion of 11C basic training at Fort Benning, GA, then Private Blue was assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion 36th Infantry, 3rd Armored Division in Ayres Kassern in Kirchgoens; the post generally referred to as "the rock".
After completing the Basic Airborne Course in September 1984, Spc4 Blue reported to the Special Forces Qualification Course. Then he went onto Company C 1st Special Warfare Training Bn where he completed the 18C Special Forces Engineer Course. Upon completion of the course, SFC Blue was assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group where he spent the next 6 years.
In September 1991, SFC Blue volunteered for newly reformed 3rd Special Forces Group. SFC Blue was assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group where he spent the next seven years performing both the Junior and Senior Engineering duties.
In July 1998, SFC Blue was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group S-3 where he served as the liaison for the BN's Company D in Fort Bragg and geographically displaced Company C. These companies conduct some of the highest risk training in the United States Military.
SFC Blue is a graduate of the 18C SFQC; the Operations and Intelligence Sergeant Course; the Combat Dive Qualification Course and Combat Dive Supervisor Course; the Military Freefall Parachutist Course and Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course; the Special Operations Training SWC pilot course in 1988; and the Anti-Terrorist Instructor Qualification Course.
His awards and decorations include the Expert Infantryman's Badge; the Master Parachutists badge; the Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge; the Combat Diver Badge; the Guatemalan and Honduran Master Parachutist Badges; the German Shutzenshnur (gold award); and the Dominican Republic Military Academy Instructor Badge.
He also received the MSM, ARCOM with 2 OLC's; the AAM with 6 OLC's, two awards of the Humanitarian Service Medal for service in Cuba and Haiti; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; 7 awards of the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal; the Overseas Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon.
SFC Blue retires to the life of a professional skydiver and hippy biker and he is now taking over the reigns as Manager of the Raeford Parachute Center School. He is accompanied by his girlfriend, Katie, his dog, Billy Bob, and his cat, Kitty.