Joseph Charles Plumb Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joseph Charles Plumb Jr.
Born (1942-11-03) November 3, 1942 (age 75)
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Charlie Plumb
Occupation Author, motivational speaker, safety lecturer, ex-POW, volunteer, pilot, sailor, world traveler

Joseph Charles Plumb Jr. (born November 3, 1942), also known as Charlie Plumb, is a former Navy Fighter Pilot captain and an ex-POW (Prisoner of war)[1][2] turned author and motivational speaker.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Born on November 3, 1942, in Gary, Indiana during World War II, he was raised in a three-room home in rural Kansas, with no indoor plumbing until he was 11. His father, Joseph Charles Plumb, Sr. was a carpenter, his mom, a homemaker. The family moved to Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb, in 1956. Plumb graduated from Shawnee-Mission High School at the age of 17.[9][10]

Military career[edit]

Charlie Plumb graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964. He earned his Navy Wings of Gold in 1966 and went on to fly the F-4 Phantom jet with fighter squadron VF-114. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Kittyhawk and flew 74 successful combat missions over Vietnam.[11] On his 75th mission, with five days before he was to return home, his plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile,[12] resulting in his capture and torture.[13] He spent a total of 2,103 days as a POW in North Vietnamese prison camps.[3][4][14][14]

During the nearly six years of captivity,[6] Charlie Plumb was distinguished among his fellow prisoners for his creative methods of underground communication. He also served for two years as the camp chaplain.[3][4][15]

Upon returning home, Plumb continued to fly A-4 Skyhawks, A-7 Corsairs and F/A-18 Hornets in Navy Reserve squadrons. His last commands as a Naval Reservist were aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, and with a Fighter Air Wing in Lemoore, California.[4][16] After 31 years of service, Plumb retired from the Navy with the rank of captain.[3][4][15]

After his repatriation, Plumb became an Author and Professional Speaker,[17][18] sharing his POW experiences with audiences around the world.[1][14][19][20][21][22][23] One of his signature messages describes the chance meeting with the sailor who packed his parachute, which ultimately saved his life.[6][7][12][24] Captain Plumb continues to receive media coverage as he represents his fellow POWs and their return with honor.[6][7][12][24][25][26]

Captain Charlie Plumb has been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, 2 Purple Hearts, Legion of Merit and the POW Medal for his service and attained the rank of captain in the Naval reserve.[16][21][27]


  • I’m No Hero (In its 32nd printing) by Charlie Plumb, Independence Press.[28][29]
  • The Last Domino by Charlie Plumb.
  • You Can Do It by Bob Budler, Thomas Nelson Publishers.[30]
  • Speaking Secrets of the Masters by The Members of Speakers Roundtable.[31]
  • Insights Into Excellence by the Members of Speakers Associates.[32]
  • Stand Up, Speak Out, And Win by Keith Degreen.[33]
  • A Cup Chicken Soup for the Soul "Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit" by Jack Canfield, Mark Hansen, and Barry Spilchuk.


  1. ^ a b Howes, Craig (1993-01-01). Voices of the Vietnam Pows: Witnesses to Their Fight. Oxford University Press, Incorporated. ISBN 9780195358698.
  2. ^ "Blitzer Brings 'The Seventies' to Newseum". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  3. ^ a b c d "POWs Mark 40 Years of Freedom". ABC News. 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Captain Charlie Plumb: Winning Through Adversity". Smart Hustle Magazine. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  5. ^ R., Phil. "Captain Charlie Plumb". Empower America Hour. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "Thank Your Parachute Packer". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  7. ^ a b c "Who's Packing Your Parachute? | Darren Hardy, Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  8. ^ "Modern American Heroes · Capt. Charlie Plumb". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  9. ^ "Former Navy Fighter Pilot & P.O.W." Charlie Plumb. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Bio, Plumb, Joseph C. "Charlie"". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  11. ^ "The Importance of Communication by Captain Charlie Plumb". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  12. ^ a b c "Stories - Who Packs Your Parachute?". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  13. ^ "Keep your parachute packed: Rotary hears famed speaker, former POW Captain Plumb - Santa Paula Times". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  14. ^ a b c "Santa Ynez Valley Journal | MAKING THE MOST OF IT". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  15. ^ a b "LESSONS IN COMMUNICATION FROM A PRISONER OF WAR - passion for fresh ideas". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  16. ^ a b "Smashwords – About Charlie Plumb, author of 'Im No Hero'". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  17. ^ BAKER, BOB (1985-12-15). "'Triumph of an Ordinary Man' : Ex-POW Resurrects Pain, Pathos to Motivate Others". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  18. ^ "Vietnam veterans welcome home: Tavares celebration to welcome home Vietnam veterans". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  19. ^ "Former Vietnam POW tells his story to Suffolk club". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  20. ^ "Communication Skills: The Key to Getting More Clients and Better Clients in Any Economic Environment". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  21. ^ a b "40 years ago in a land far away, positive thinking saved his life | | The Acorn". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  22. ^ "SUCCESS Achiever's Series MP3: Charlie Plumb - By Media". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  23. ^ "Charlie Plumb: Making choices, taking risks". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  24. ^ a b "Strategic Business Network (SBN)". Strategic Business Network. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  25. ^ "ABC News: Nixon Library POW Reunion Rekindles Memories". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  26. ^ "Tony Orlando Donates Gold Record to POW Exhibit". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  27. ^ "Captain charlie plumb vietnam pow". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  28. ^ Plumb, Charlie; DeWerff, Glen (1995-01-01). I'm No Hero: A POW Story as Told to Glen DeWerff. Tremendous Life Books. ISBN 9780937539385.
  29. ^ Frank, Bill (13 September 2011). "Charlie Plumb Gives The Lessons He Learned In A Vietnamese Prisoner of War Camp Contained In His Book I'm No Hero". Brainstorminonline. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  30. ^ Budler, Bob, ed. (1994-08-01). You Can Do It! (Second ed.). Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Executive Books. ISBN 9780937539194.
  31. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "Speaking Secrets of the Masters; The Personal Techniques Used by 22 of the Worlds' Top Professional Speakers". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  33. ^ DeGreen, Keith, ed. (1978-01-01). Stand Up, Speak Out, and Win!. Summit Enterprises.