Charles R. Stimpson

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Charles R. Stimpson
Nickname(s) Skull
Born (1919-08-24)August 24, 1919
Salt Lake City, Utah
Died August 20, 1983(1983-08-20) (aged 63)
Naval Air Station Miramar
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1941–1956
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Navy Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal (3)

Charles R. Stimpson (24 August 1919 – 20 August 1983) was a United States Navy fighter ace in the Second World War.


Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Stimpson graduated from Pomona College in 1941 and enlisted in the navy as an aviation cadet. He received his commission and aviator wings in May 1942 and was assigned to Fighting Squadron 11, which became known as The Sundowners.

Flying Grumman F4F Wildcats from Guadalcanal in the summer of 1943, "Skull" Stimpson shot down six Japanese aircraft. He remained with the squadron during its second combat deployment, flying Grumman F6F Hellcats from USS Hornet (CV-12) in the Western Pacific during late 1944. He scored ten more kills, including five confirmed and two probables off Formosa on 14 October.[1]

At the end of the war Stimpson was the Sundowners' top ace with 16 victories, receiving the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and three Air Medals.

Released from active duty in October 1945, Stimpson participated in the naval reserve program until 1956. He settled in the San Diego area, having married into the hotel business. He was widely known as the genial, popular host of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, California, but maintained his interest in aviation. He died at a Blue Angels performance at NAS Miramar shortly before his 64th birthday.


  1. ^ Stimpson's memorable actions on 14 October 1944 are documented in Edward H. Sims' book Greatest Fighter Missions, as the ninth chapter of that compilation.