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Charles "Charlie" M. Duke

Brigadier General USAF (Ret)


Born in Charlotte, North Carolina; October 3, 1935


Attended Lancaster High School, Lancaster, SC
Graduated, Valedictorian, Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg, Florida, 1953
B.S., Naval Sciences, U.S. Naval Academy, 1957
M.S., Aeronautics & Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964 Graduated U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, 1965
Honorary Ph.D. University of South Carolina, 1973
Industrial College of The Armed Forces, 1978
Honorary Ph.D. Francis Marion College, 1990


Astronaut Duke is the son of the late Charles M. and Willie Waters Duke, Sr. of Lancaster, SC. He married Dorothy Meade Claiborne, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. T. Sterling Claiborne of Atlanta, Georgia on June 1, 1963. Mr. Duke has two sons, Charles III born in 1965 and Thomas born in 1967, and nine grandchildren.


Hunting, fishing, reading, flying and golf.


Former Member, at large, NASA Advisory Council Air Force Association
Society of Experimental Test Pilots
Reserve Officers' Association
USNA Alumni Association
Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International
Christian Businessmen's Committee
Chairman & Director, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation
The Explorers Club
The Military Officers Association


Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Legion of Merit
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings
JSC Certificate of Commendation (1970)
Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
South Carolina Man of the Year, 1973
South Carolina Hall of Fame, 1973
Society of Experimental Test Pilots Iven C. Kincheloe Award of 1972
American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award, 1972
AIAA Haley Astronauts Flight Award, 1973
Federation Aeronautique Internationale V.M. Komarov Diploma, 1973
Texas Science Hall of Fame, 2000
South Carolina Hall of Science & Technology, 2002


Upon graduation from the Naval Academy and receiving his commission in the USAF, Mr. Duke entered pilot training and received his wings in Sept. 1958. He served three years in Germany as a fighter interceptor pilot with the 526th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ramstein Air Base. He was then assigned to MIT for a master's degree. In 1964, he entered the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. He has logged 4,147 hours flying time which includes 3,632 hours in jet aircraft.

Astronaut Duke is one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April, 1966. Duke served as lunar module pilot of Apollo 16, April 16-27, 1972. He was accompanied on the fifth manned lunar mission by John W. Young (spacecraft commander) and Thomas K. Mattingly II (command module pilot). Apollo 16 was the first scientific expedition to inspect, survey and sample materials and surface features in the Descartes region of the rugged lunar highlands. Duke and Young commenced their lunar surface stay of 71 hours and 14 minutes by maneuvering the lunar module "Orion" to a landing on the rough Cayley Plains. In three subsequent excursions onto the lunar surface, Duke and Young logged 20 hours and 15 minutes in extra-vehicular activities – involving the emplacement and activation of scientific equipment and experiments, the collection of nearly 213 pounds of rock and soil samples, and the evaluation and use of Rover-2 over the roughest and blockiest surface yet encountered on the moon.

Other Apollo 16 achievements include: largest payload placed in lunar orbit (79,109 pounds); first cosmic ray detector deployed on lunar surface; first lunar observatory with the far ultraviolet camera; and longest inflight EVA from a command module during trans-earth coast (1 hour and 13 minutes). Apollo 16 concluded with a Pacific splashdown and subsequent recovery by the USS TICONDEROGA.

With the completion of the Apollo 16 mission, General Duke has logged 265 hours and 51 minutes in space, which includes 21 hours and 28 minutes in extra-vehicular activities. Astronaut Duke also served as the backup lunar module pilot for the Apollo 13 and Apollo 17 flights.

In December 1975, Duke retired from NASA to enter private business in San Antonio. He entered the USAF Reserves in 1975 and served as Mobilization Augmentee to Commander AF Basic Military Training Center and to Commander USAF Recruiting Service. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1979 and retired in June, 1986. Since 1976, Mr. Duke has been involved in a wide variety of business. He is presently involved in the following ventures.


Owner, Duke Investments
President, Charlie Duke Enterprises, Inc.

Charlie Duke is an active motivational and inspirational speaker. As an entrepreneur, business executive, military officer, and Astronaut, he brings to the speakers platform forty years of experience. His speeches are entertaining, informative and sprinkled with humor. He has appeared on numerous TV shows, and spoken for hundreds of associations, clubs, organizations, churches, and schools all over the world.

He and his wife reside in New Braunfels, Texas. They have co-authored the book, Moonwalker, released by Oliver Nelson Publishers in March 1990, and produced two videos/DVDs - Moonwalker and Walk on the Moon, Walk with the Son.