Local Veteran Reflects On Time In Air Force
Charles Fryer, a veteran from Dunkirk, has been interested in airplanes throughout his life — one of the biggest reasons he joined the Air Force.
While not the biggest fan of high school, Fryer’s interest in the military remained throughout his education. After graduating from Fredonia High School, Fryer joined the Air Force in January 1962 and spent four years in the service before being discharged in 1966. He spent his time serving as a part of the Air Force during the time of the Vietnam War — which took place from 1954 to 1975 –, though he did not end up actually going to Vietnam.
His interest in airplanes and the military led him to join the force.
“I was military inclined, even in school,” Fryer said. “I liked airplanes as a kid and joined the civil air patrol in high school. That’s how I got involved.”
While not actually in Vietnam, Fryer spent his time in the service in Columbus, Ohio, doing the important work of an airplane repair man on planes that had been part of the fighting during the war and returned with damage.
“I was a body fender man and I did airplane repair,” Fryer said. “The airplanes would come in and we would repair the damage that had happened during the fighting.”
More than 50 years later, and Fryer said that he would go back and serve in the Air Force again if he was called.
After leaving the service and returning home, Fryer jumped around from job to job for a while. “I jumped around from job to job because I was not settled down,” Fryer said. “I eventually retired as a bus driver.”
Fryer spent time as a bus driver starting around 1988. He officially retired in 2001.
The way his time in service has had an impact on Fryer’s life he said was hard to describe, but he emphasized that it is something that he would do all over again.
“It’s hard to say (what impact it has had),” Fryer said. “But, I would do it again.”