Charlie Fryer is the oldest living veteran in Franklin County at the age of 97.
Sgt. Fryer served during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He joined the Air Force in 1941, and it became his life career for 30 years.
He was born in Covington and raised on a large farm with livestock and many different crops. He was married to wife Muriel, who passed away in 2016.
Sgt. Fryer was stationed around the world from Hawaii to Europe and Southeast Asia.
During WWII, Sgt. Fryer served on a flight crew where he flew with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower throughout Europe. He also received the WWII Medal of Honor while serving in France.
In 1970, he became the first master sergeant at Arnold Air Force Base, and from there, he was stationed in Vietnam.
Sgt. Fryer also became a member of the Presidential Wing, which is the crew who takes care of Air Force One.
His love for flying goes back to age 21 when he bought his first airplane and received his pilot’s license.
Muriel convinced him to sell his plane because she was fearful of him flying.
Sgt. Fryer’s ability for problem solving led him to becoming head of the aircraft maintenance department in Washington D. C.
“He was a big believer in giving to his church and doing selflessness tasks over the span of his life.” said son Gary Fryer, who is an Air Force veteran himself.
Charlie’s good friend, Bob “Chief” Carr, recollected: “Charlie religiously kept a pocket calendar to keep track of relatives’ dates of birth, appointments and commitments. It was like his phone.”
Both men made the comment that Sgt. Fryer worked hard and understood what it took to become successful in his career, family and community.
When he retired, Charlie and Muriel realized how much they enjoyed living in Estill Springs and wanted to live out their lives in this community.
They moved back to Franklin County to enjoy their retirement.
Since his retirement, Sgt. Fryer has enjoyed perks of fried catfish and black walnut cake. He also dabbled in real estate while working at Lewis & Orr Real Estate in Tullahoma.
He is a member of American Legion Post 44 and Disabled American Vets organizations.
Dec. 8, 2015, was proclaimed as Sgt. Charlie Fryer Day by County Mayor Richard Stewart.
He was one of the WWII grand marshals of the 2018 Veterans Day Parade in Winchester.
Post 44 issued the following statement about Sgt. Fryer: “We salute you, Charles Fryer, for not only your sacrifices to your country but the decades of usefulness you have been throughout your existence to all of whom encountered you.”
The American Legion recognizes retired Sgt. Charlie Fryer as the Veteran of the Month for September.