Captain Charles (Charlie) Paul Silvia, USN-Retired, 82, of Middletown, RI and Virginia Beach, VA died from complications following a stroke on Saturday, November 4, 2017.
Born in Newport, RI on December 9, 1934, he was the son of the late Thomas and Rose Mary (Rosa) Silvia.
Charlie grew up on Paradise Avenue in Middletown where his father was the superintendent on the Gray Craig estate. He graduated from Rogers High School, where he was the Senior Class President, in 1952 and attended the University of Rhode Island prior to receiving his Congressional appointment to the US Naval Academy. He graduated from the Naval Academy, and was commissioned an Ensign, in June 1957 and reported to Pensacola, FL for flight training.
Charlie earned his Wings of Gold as a helicopter pilot November 26,1958 and then reported to his first operational squadron, the Sea Griffins of Helicopter Support Squadron 9, (HC-9) at NAS Quonset Point, RI flying the UH-2 Seasprite. Following this assignment, he reported to Officer Candidate School, Newport, RI where he was an instructor and Company Officer.
Charlie then flew with the HC-2 Fleet Angels at NAS Lakehurst in Toms River, NJ, followed by his Department Head tour flying the SH-3 Sea King with the Black Knights of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 (HS-4) at NAS Imperial Beach, CA. With HS-4 Charlie participated in the recovery missions of Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13. After HS-4, he reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA earning a Master of Science degree in Management. Following graduate school, he returned to NAS Imperial Beach and the Eightballers of HS-8 where he served as the squadron Executive Officer and Commanding Officer.
After his command tour, Charlie reported to Carrier Task Force 77 (CTF-77), embarked on aircraft carriers, at Subic Bay Naval Base, Republic of the Philippines where he served as the Director of Anti-Submarine Warfare. In October 1976, Charlie reported to his last operational tour as Executive Officer of Amphibious Assault Ship USS Okinawa (LPH-3). Following an ashore assignment with Navy Recruiting Command in Washington, DC, Charlie reported to the Naval War College where he served as the Dean of Administration until his retirement, after 30 years of service, in June 1987.
Charlie’s naval service spanned historic events beyond flying in support of the Apollo recovery missions, including flying in HC-9 as part of the blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis, operating off the coast of Vietnam when Saigon fell and working to rescue the SS Mayaguez while with CTF-77. He was a member of the unofficial “Tonkin Bay Yacht Club” as a result of his extended carrier operations off of Vietnam.
Following his retirement, Charlie became the Middletown, RI Town Planner until he retired a second time in 2000.
Charlie was a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Jesus Saviour Catholic Church. He was also a member of the Newport Horticultural Society.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Alice Dale Callahan Silvia. Charlie is survived by his wife Mary Elizabeth (Betty) of Middletown, RI and Virginia Beach, VA and his brother, Thomas P. Silvia of Wiesbaden, Germany.
Charlie is also survived by his children: Ruth Silvia Lescher (Commander, USN, ret.) and husband William of Alexandria, VA, Dr. Charles P. Silvia, Jr. and wife Molly of New Orleans, LA, James C. Silvia and wife Christine of Los Angeles, CA, Thomas D. Silvia of Austin, TX who died November 5, 2017, Daniel C. Silvia and wife Elizabeth of Purcellville, VA, David B. Silvia and wife Kimberly of Portsmouth, RI, and step-children: Mary Butt Hood and husband Shelby, James F. Butt and wife Samira, Ryan M. Butt, and David A. Butt and wife Katherine of Virginia Beach, VA.
He also leaves grandchildren: Ensign Dale C. Lescher (USN), William K. Lescher, Jr., Charles P. Silvia III, Ellen H. Silvia, Patrick H. Silvia, Alison S. Chang and husband Garrett, Joseph H. Silvia, Samuel P. Silvia, Daniel C. Silvia, Jr., Callahan D. Silvia, Sophia A. Silvia, David B. Silvia, Jr. and step-grandchildren James P. Butt and Daniel P. Butt.
His funeral will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at 10:00 am, in Jesus Saviour Catholic Church, Broadway and Vernon Avenue, Newport.
Burial will be in St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in his memory may be made to: Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0302.