Charles Victor Reddig Jr., Decorated WWII pilot, National Guard and RCA retiree, autobiographer

By on November 28, 2018

Retired Major Charles Victor Reddig Jr., of Ephrata, passed away peacefully at Lancaster General Hospital on Nov. 20, 2018 after a brief stay.

Charles (also known as Charlie or Vic) was born in what he always referred to as the “big city of Fivepointville, PA,” on Feb. 11, 1924. He was the son of Charles Reddig Sr., and Carrie Roth Reddig. He grew up in Stevens.

In 1943, on his 19th birthday, Charlie left his hometown with a group of friends to do their basic infantry training in St. Petersburg, Fla. At the end of basic training, a thousand soldiers took written tests for a full day and a half. At the end, two were sent to radio navigation school in Indiana to prepare to serve in an aviation arm of the military called the Army Air Corps. From there, they went to Greenville, S.C., for pilot training on B-25 bombers. They flew the planes to Hawaii, where they practiced bombing and were then stationed in the Gilbert Islands where Charlie made friends with headhunters.

Charlie flew 69 missions bombing China and Japanese-held islands. After Okinawa, they also bombed Japan and one mission took them near a huge mushroom-shaped cloud as they flew over Hiroshima, returning from a bombing run over Tokyo. They witnessed the utter devastation of a place that had been a thriving city just hours earlier when they had flown over it en route to their mission.

Among the many military medals he was awarded, he was most proud of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

When Charles returned home after the war, he joined the National Guard and taught missile warfare and communications in Germany, and later back in Pennsylvania. He retired from the National Guard as a major in 1984 and from RCA as an electronics designer in 1986.

Charlie enjoyed retirement and time spent with his family and friends. He had many stories to tell. A daughter and a family friend interviewed him about his childhood and wartime experiences, and, from those interviews, they wrote a book called “Remembering the Cloud: The True Story of WWII Pilot Charlie Reddig.” It was published earlier this year, just in time for Charlie’s 94th birthday, and is available on Amazon. Charles directed that all profits from the book be donated to the VFW National Home for Children in Michigan.

Charles was a life-long Lutheran and a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Ephrata since the 1950s.

Charles is survived by his wife of 71 years: Carmen Steininger Reddig; daughters: Vicki Reddig Maassen (wife of Bernd Maassen) who resides in Braunfels, Germany; and Connie Reddig Kirby, (wife of John Kirby) of Lititz; a sister: Marion Rutt of Denver; a daughter-in-law: Jodi Weaver Reddig of Denver; and four grandchildren: Mark Maassen of Hamburg, Germany; Kevin Maassen of Braunschweig, Germany; James Reddig of Hoboken, N.J.; and Dru Heming (wife of Jerad Heming) of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Charles was preceded in death by his parents; a sister: Rhonda Reddig Ford; a son: James Charles Reddig; and a grandson: Michael Reddig.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Salem Lutheran Church, 1331 W. Main St., Ephrata. Interment of ashes will take place later in December at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, send donations to the VFW National Home for Children, 3573 S. Waverly Road, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827; or to Salem Lutheran Church, 1331 W. Main St., Ephrata, PA 17522.

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes, Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at stradlingfuneralhome.com.

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