In Memory of
Marine Air Corps First Lieutenant
Charles Z. Beckley
Lead, South Dakota
Lawrence County
October 29, 1916 – March 5, 1943
Killed in Air Crash at San Diego, California

Charles Z. Beckley

Charles Z. Beckley was born on October 29, 1916, at Logansport, Indiana, to Charles and Mary Etta Beckley. He had two sisters, Mary Jane and Jo Ann, and a brother, Joe. In 1933, the family moved to Lead, South Dakota, where Charles attended his junior and senior years of high school. “Chick,” as he was known to friends, was “prominent in athletics while in high school.” He later attended Purdue University at Lafayette, Indiana, and then was enrolled and graduated with a degree in general engineering from South Dakota School of Mines at Rapid City in 1940.  During his years at Mines, Charles again played football and was co-captain his senior year. He also was a member of Triangle Fraternity. During his summer vacations, Charles worked at Homestake Mine at Lead.  From July through November of 1940, Charles was employed by Westinghouse Electric at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On November 25, 1940, Charles Beckley entered active service in Pittsburgh. First commissioned in the Marine Corps, Beckley was stationed at Quantico, Virginia, in 1940 and 1941. He resigned his commission to enter the Marine Air Corps in December of 1941.  In October of 1942, he received his wings and commission as a second lieutenant in a ceremony at Corpus Christi, Texas. Lt. Beckley was then sent to San Diego, California, where he was killed on March 5, 1943, at San Diego in a plane crash. According to the RC Journal, Lieutenant Charles Beckley was buried at Royal Center, Indiana, the place of his birth.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, Fallen Sons State Coordinator, Spearfish, SD. Information for this entry was provided by the RC Journal, 3/8/43 issue, Lead Daily Call, including 10/28/42 issue, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment, Service Record: Lead and Community,  and Joe Beckley, brother, Winter Haven, Florida.