Charles Moss Duke, Jr.
Charles Moss Duke, Jr., Brigadier General, USAF, (Ret.), was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 03, 1935, the son of Charles M. and Willie Waters Duke and the grandson of Charles Moss and Mary Funderburk Duke. However, we claim Charles as a native of Chesterfield County. As so often the occasion, without a hospital in the Pageland area, many of the residents found medical attention in Union or Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. This is the case here. Charles may have been born in Charlotte, but his parents resided in Pageland, South Carolina, and it was Pageland that he spent his early formative years growing up.
Upon graduation from the Naval Academy and receiving his commission in the USAF, Mr. Duke entered pilot training and received his wings in September 1959. He served three years in Germany as a fighter interceptor pilot with the 526th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ramstein Air Base. He was then assigned to M.I.T. for a master's degree. In 1964, he entered the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. He logged 4,147 hours flying time which included 3,632 hours in jet aircraft.
Astronaut Duke was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. Duke served as lunar module pilot of Apollo 16, April 16-27, 1972. He was accompanied on the fifth manned lunar mission by spacecraft commander John W. Young and command module pilot Thomas K. Mattingly, II. Apollo 16 was the first scientific expedition to inspect, survey, and sample materials and surface features in the Descartes region of the rugged lunar highlands. Duke and Young commenced their lunar surface stay of 71 hours and 14 minutes by maneuvering the lunar module "Orion" to a landing on the rough Cayley Plains. In three subsequent excursions onto the lunar surface, Duke and Young logged 20 hours and 15 minutes in extra-vehicular activities involving the emplacement and activation of scientific equipment and experiments, the collection of nearly 213 pounds of rock and soil samples, and the evaluation and use of Rover-2 over the roughest and blockiest surface yet encountered on the moon.
Other Apollo 16 achievements include the following: largest payload placed in lunar orbit (79,109 pounds), first cosmic ray detector deployed on lunar surface, first lunar observatory with the far ultraviolet camera, and longest inflight EVA from a command module during trans-earth cost (1 hour and 13 minutes).
With the completion of the Apollo 16 mission, General Duke has logged 265 hours and 51 minutes in space, which includes 21 hours and 28 minutes in extra-vehicular activities. Astronaut Duke has also served as the backup lunar module pilot for the Apollo 13 and Apollo 17 flights.
In December 1975, Duke retired from NASA to enter private business in San Antonio. He entered the USAF Reserves in 1975, and served as Staff Engineer AFSC and Mobilization Augmentee to Commander AF Basic Military Training Center and to Commander USAF Recruiting Service. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1979, and retired in June 1986.
Charlie Duke is an active Christian Lay Witness who has spoken at churces of all denominations and other Christian meetings. He is in demand as a speaker worldwide and has appeared on the 700 Club, TBN, and other TV shows to testify to the love and life-changing power of Jesus Christ. He is Founder and President of Duke Ministry for Christ, an advisory board member of Zion Bible College, and a member of the Episcopal Church.
He and his wife, Dorothy Meade Clairborne Duke, reside in New Braunfels, Texas. They have co-authored the book Moonwalker, which was released by Oliver Nelson Publishers in March 1990, and have produced two videos, Moonwalker and Walk on the Moon, Walk with the Son.