Chuck Irby died on August 10, 2018 at the age of seventy nine surrounded by his family and life partner Dorothy.
Chuck enlisted in the Air Force in 1956. He served his country with distinction for over 21 years as an Air Commando and a founding father of the modern day Special Operations Weather Team. In January 1963, he was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he was evaluating a program designed to provide weather support for Army Special Operations Forces which became the standard for the Army.
During his tour at Fort Bragg, Chuck deployed to the Dominican Republic in support of Operation POWER PACK where he spent three months in the northwest provinces as a member of an Army Special Forces team. The weather reports provided by Chuck from that data sparse region were critical to the U.S. airlifting eight million tons of critically needed relief supplies for Dominican Nationals and preventing a takeover by rebels.
Serving as an Air Commando from 1966 to 1974, Chuck became a pioneer in advanced tactical infiltration methods accumulating 1,875 military parachute jumps. He was one of the first Military Freefall Jumpmasters in the Special Operations Weather community.
In 1966 Chuck was assigned to England AFB at Alexandria, Louisiana where he performed as one of the principal trainers for weather personnel.
In 1967, he was assigned to Panama where he flawlessly executed the activation of a Special Operations Weather Team supporting the 605th Air Commando Squadron and performed missions throughout Central and South America.
Chuck was assigned to Hurlburt AFB from 1968 to 1974. During this time, he participated in numerous training exercises under remote, austere environments in the Fort Bragg area. The outstanding quality of his efforts set the standard for the Special Operations Weather Team.
Chuck was one of the earliest trailblazers of what’s become the modern Special Operations Weather Team. His contributions to the development of techniques and procedures laid the groundwork for the successful execution of weather sensitive missions in every conflict from the war in Southeast Asia to the current global war on terrorism.
Although he retired from the Air Force in 1977, Chuck Irby’s dedication to the air commando community has never ceased ,and he was a lifetime member of the Air Commando Association.
Chuck was inducted into the Grey Beret Hall of Fame in 2012 and he epitomizes the term “quiet professional.” He need not be idealized or enlarged in death because of “what he was in real life”. Indeed, the world does need men like Chuck Irby. A man of many and varied talents is not with us today, but we are all richer for having known him.