Charles Ross Greening

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Charles Ross Greening
Born (1914-11-12)November 12, 1914
Carroll, Iowa
Died March 29, 1957(1957-03-29) (aged 42)
Bethesda, Maryland
Buried Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Army Air Force
Years of service 1936–1957
Rank Colonel
Notable missions Doolittle Raid
Spouse(s) Dorothy Greening

Colonel Charles Ross Greening was an accomplished pilot and artist. He was one of the 73 men out of the 80 Doolittle Raiders to survive the attack and return home to his family.

Early years; education[edit]

Charles Ross Greening was born on November 12, 1914 in Carroll, Iowa, to Charles W and Olive Jewell (née Ross) Greening.[1] After his father's bank failed, the family moved to Tacoma, Washington in 1925.[2]

Greening received a bachelor's degree from Washington State College of Fine Arts in 1936, entered the military on June 23, 1936 at Fort Lewis, Washington and graduated from advanced flying school at Kelly Field, Texas on June 9, 1937.

Shortly after arriving at his first duty station, Greening took leave to marry his college sweetheart, Dorothy "Dot" Watson (1912-2003).[2] They would have two children together, both boys.

World War II[edit]

On April 18, 1942, then Captain Greening, piloting the Hari Kari-er, a B-25B Mitchell medium bomber, launched from the United States Navy's aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8), in the Doolittle Raid of Japan. He led a flight of three aircraft to bomb oil refineries, docks, warehouses and industrial areas of Yokohama. He and his crew survived the raid, reaching China in the area northeast of Quzhou before they ran out of gas and had to abandoned their aircraft.[3] After the Doolittle raid, he went back to the war.

After he returned from China, Greening trained in the Martin B-26 Marauder. He was assigned to a base in North Africa, and flew 27 missions before being shot down over Italy on July 17, 1943 and taken prisoner.[2] He escaped and evaded capture until early 1944, after which he was held at the Stalag Luft I POW camp for the duration of the war.

After the war, he continued on active duty in the Air Force until he died of an infection on March 29, 1957,[2] at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland.


Greening wrote and painted pictures from his life and experience during the war. After he died in 1957, his wife Dorothy gathered his notes and pictures and, with the help of his sister, Shirley Greening Morgan, and her daughter (his niece), Karen Morgan Driscoll, published his memoir, Not as Briefed: From the Doolittle Raid to a German Stalag.


  1. ^ "Iowa, Delayed Birth Records, 1850-1939". FamilySearch. Retrieved 30 July 2018. 
  2. ^ "Halsey-Doolittle Raid, April 1942". Hyper War. Retrieved 30 July 2018.