Decorated WWII bomber pilot honored, remembered by family, friends

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hannah Bean
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Families, friends and loved ones gathered together Dec. 4 to remember former Army Air Corps Capt. Charles T. Hull, a decorated World War II bomber pilot who survived 25 missions in the European Theater, during a funeral and burial service with full military honors in Winona, Mississippi.

Hull passed away at St. Catherine’s Village at the age of 98 in Madison, Mississippi, Nov. 29, where he had resided since 2008. He was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and lived in Winona and Texas for many years.

Hull began his service in the Army Air Corps in November 1942, where he attended the Columbus Army Flying School on what is now Columbus Air Force Base. Once training was completed, Hull was stationed in Polebrook, England, where he piloted the B-17 Flying Fortress for the 351st Bomber Group of the Eighth Air Force.

Hull flew a total of 25 missions from June to December of 1943, during which time he flew missions over Germany without the protection of fighter escorts for him and his crew.

“He was brave to say the least,” said Sandra Inman, one of Hull’s nieces. “He wouldn’t have gone on those 25 missions if he wasn’t brave. He said the Germans fighters were coming at his plane like a swarm of bees. Every raid he went out. They had no escorts so he was just steadily dodging bullets.”

For his outstanding service in Europe he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Service Medal upon returning from his tour in Europe. Hull further served his country as a flight instructor for the new B-29 Superfortress.

In July 1945, Hull completed his service in the military and was honorably discharged from the Army at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

“He was proud, but he had memories of the war that, you could say today, were ‘post-traumatic stress’ because it was so tough and he was risking his life and those of his men,” Inman said. “They had no escort. It was very dangerous, what he did, but he was really proud.”

Since completing his service, Hull continued his love of travel, flew his personal aircraft and traveled to all 50 states, 74 countries and crossed the Arctic Circle four times.

“He always had his own plane,” Inman said. “He would travel and do friends a favor. He took a bunch of friends to Alaska one time and went moose hunting. He paid for everything and just had a good time. He took his plane to other places that were just strictly enjoyment to show his friends and have a good time showing the United States.”

In 1978 he completed a solo round-the-world flight that spanned 92 days and covered about 39,000 miles, during which he provided supplies to missionaries around the world before returning home to Mississippi.

“He loved to talk about his around the world trip,” Inman said. “He would talk about the war. If you asked him certain questions, he would start telling you all about it and all the scientific research behind it. He was really good at that and he did all that before we had computers where you could Google (search) everything. He just enjoyed more people coming to him, asking him about all of his stuff that he’d done and all of his war missions.”

Later on in Hull’s life, the Mississippi Legislature commended him with a resolution in 2016 recognizing his many achievements. He has spoken at many programs through the years about his travels and war stories. Many of them are recorded in over 23 videos on YouTube.