Lt. Charles W. King
with his P-39 "Cobra" 1941
"Cobra In The Clouds"
Second Lt. Charles King graduated from cadets, class 41-D, and joined the 39th at Selfridge Field in June 1941. With the squadron he shipped overseas to Australia in Jan 1942 aboard the USS Ancon. After arriving in Port Moresby, New Guinea, he flew 201 combat sorties in P-39s and P-38s, and in the process shot down five Jap aircraft to become an Ace. Major King assumed command of the 39th Squadron from Tommy Lynch, just in time to lead most of the Rabaul missions. Before leaving in December 1943, he checked the squadron out in the newly acquired P-47 Thunderbolts and moved the squadron "over the hill" to Nadzab.
Completing his tour of duty and returning Stateside, Major King was assigned to command the initial jet fighter training squadron, in the first US jet equipped Group. In the Spring of 1945 he returned to the Fifth Air Force HQ. He became a part of the operations staff and served in the Philippines and Okinawa until WWII ended. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and "worked his way" back to flying F-51 Mustangs with the 49th Fighter Group in Japan, and then commanded the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron equipped with RF-80 jets.
Lt. Col. King returned to Selfridge and Oscoda Air Base, flying F-80 and F-86 jet fighters as a squadron commander and later as commander of Oscoda AFB. He was promoted to full Colonel in 1951 and served briefly in HQ, Air Defense Command, before his assignment to the 4th Fighter Wing in Korea. During his tour in Korea, Charlie had not forgotten his early combat skills from WWII and, using his own words, nicked a couple of Mig fighters before they escaped across the Chinese border."