Saturday, May 17, 2014

Navy Pilot From Ocean City, New Jersey, to Emcee StandUp4SEALS Event on May 24

Lieutenant Commander Ben “Julie” Charles will be emcee for the second annual StandUp4SEALS Beach Challenge in Ocean City on May 24.

Charles is a graduate of  Ocean City High School (1995) and the United States Naval Academy and a decorated U.S. Navy pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours including many combat missions.

In its first year, StandUp4SEALS attracted more than 650 competitors for three combined events and raised $46,515 to benefit the families of Navy SEALS killed in service. Event organizers have a fundraising goal of $150,000 this year.

Read a description of the event from event organizers:

WHAT: Athletes and military community members will meet on the Ocean City beach on Saturday, May 24, for the second annual “Stand Up 4 SEALs” fundraiser, benefiting the 31 Heroes Project, the Travis Manion Foundation and the Navy SEAL Foundation through their One Team One Fight partnership.

Hosted by 31 Heroes, the race consists of three simultaneous events, including a beach obstacle course, a stand-up paddleboard event and a kids’ run.

The event is expected to draw up to 1000 people; last year, 650 people, including locals and New Jersey and Philadelphia vacationers, attended the fundraiser, raising more than $35,000 for the cause.

This event is sponsored by Xfinity (Comcast); Substructure, Inc; United Communities/First Montgomery Group; Dietz & Watson; Halliday-Leonard General Contractors; ShopRite and Fox Real Estate.

WHY: Our military risks everything to protect America’s freedom. It is critical that funds are raised to support them and their families through the 31Heroes Project, Travis Manion Foundation, and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

WHO: Hundreds of ocean athletes, adventure racers and competitors of all ages will square off in this second annual beach event. Representatives from local schools, businesses, government agencies and law enforcement groups will cheer on the participants.

WHEN: Packet pick-up day and sponsor display: May 23, 2014. Race day: May 24, 2014 – race starts at 8 a.m.

WHERE: Ocean City Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ


Charles graduated from Ocean City High School in 1995.  He received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering.  After graduation, LCDR Charles was commissioned into the United States Navy in May of 1999.

Ben attended flight training in Pensacola, Florida and was winged a Naval Flight Officer in February of 2001.  After flight training, he received orders to VS-41 “Shamrocks” in San Diego, California for S-3B “Viking” Replacement Aircrew Training.  LCDR Charles then received orders to the “Red Griffins” of VS-38 stationed in Coronado, California and deployed with CARRIER AIR WING TWO attached to the USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH and ultimately OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM in 2002.  With the Red Griffins, LCDR Charles flew multiple combat missions and logged almost 1,000 hours in the S-3B Viking.

After a short stint as an S-3B instructor in San Diego, California, Ben returned to flight school to attend pilot training in Corpus Christi and Kingsville, Texas.  LCDR Charles was designated and winged a Naval Aviator in 2006 and moved to Lemoore, California to pilot the F/A-18F “Super Hornet” with the “Black Knights” of VFA-154.  While attached to the Black Knights, LCDR Charles embarked on multiple combat deployments attached to CARRIER AIR WINGS NINE and SEVENTEEN onboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) and USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76) in support of OPERATIONS IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF).

In October 2010, LCDR Charles received orders to VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” and Strike Fighter Wing Pacific as a Department Head and an F/A-18A-F Instructor.  During his tour in VFA-122, Ben received his MBA from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.  Currently, LCDR Charles is serving as the Fleet Project Team lead with Strike Fighter Wing Pacific in Lemoore, California and has just received orders to CARRIER AIR WING ELEVEN to serve as the Strike Operations officer where he will return to sea onboard the USS NIMITZ (CVN-68).

LCDR Ben Charles has accumulated over 2,500 flight hours and 350 carrier arrested landings.  His personal awards include Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (2), Navy Achievement Medal (2), and various other awards.

LCDR Charles is married to Heidi of Portland, Oregon and they have two children, Avery and Gus.

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