Charles Robert Rambo – Lieutenant Colonel. United States Army


“I was really shocked when I read your e-mail “Fate of Us Flag raised on Corregidor.”

“As the 503rd Regimental Headquarters Commandant and RCT Communications Officer reporting directly to Colonel Jones, I was appointed by him to be in charge of the Flag Raising. As such I gave the commands prior to General MacArthur's command to raise the flag. This flag was carried by T/5 Frank Guy Arrigo when he jumped in,  accompanied by Pfc Clyde I. Bates. The flag can be identified by the sniper fire the first day.

“As the Color Guard and I were assembling, an Army Major approached me, handed me a flag and told that this was the flag that would be raised, not ours. I assured him that our flag and not his would be raised, he told me that his flag was to be presented to General MacArthur, and then we would take down his flag and we could raise ours.

“I protested to Col. Jones who didn't know anything about this but said if the flag was for General MacArthur I should raise it. We raised that flag and the ceremony was over and the troops dispersed.  Later I found out that it was not for the General but was the personal flag belonging to the Major.

“After we left Corregidor our own flag remained behind and that is the last we saw or heard anything about it. As far as any other flags (claiming to be the flag that was raised on Corregidor) I have no knowledge of this. I tried for many years to obtain information on the the whereabouts of our flag, to no luck. Many years ago at one of our reunions I was told by one of our 503rd members that he had seen our original flag flying over the fireplace of one of the members of the original 503rd. I was unsuccessful in tracking that and have long since forgotten the name of the person who allegedly had it. The name Melvin Croucher does not ring a bell with me.”

I am still angry about this.

Charles R. Rambo
Original member of the 503d

Charles Robert Rambo, 87, a decorated World War II veteran who spent 25 years as an international communications specialist with the State Department, died June 8, 2006, at his home in Arlington. He had mesothelioma cancer.

A retired Army Colonel, Mr. Rambo joined the State Department in 1965. He oversaw operations in Latin America and the Middle East and headed up State's first counterterrorism operation. During his tenure, Mr. Rambo also promoted government-sponsored sports programs as a conduit for communications between the United States and other countries.

He attended the Sapporo and Munich Olympic Games in the 1970s and the 1980 Lake Placid Games as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Before retiring from the State Department in 1979, he was director of communications for the Western Hemisphere. He continued to work as a consultant until 1991.

Colonel Rambo was born June 26, 1918, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He was a direct descendant of Peter Gunnar Rambo, who came to Philadelphia from Sweden in 1640 and was an interpreter between Peter Stuyvesant and the Indians in Philadelphia and New York.

He attended Drexel University as an electrical engineering student before entering the Army in 1941 and volunteering for the first parachute unit. After completing jump school, he was shipped overseas as communications chief and later regimental platoon leader to the 503rd Parachute Battalion, which became the 503rd Parachute Regiment, the first parachute regiment in the Army.

Throughout World War II, he served in active combat with the 503rd in the Pacific theater under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, including during the New Guinea and Philippines campaigns and the liberation of Corregidor Island. During combat, he participated in the lowest altitude jump, 150 feet, made in the Pacific theater.

His military decorations include the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Master Parachutist badge. He also was honored by Portugal's government for his work related to sports programs. He retired from the Army in 1965.

Colonel Rambo was active in many organizations. He was a former member and on the board of directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee and was a past president of the United States People to People Sports Committee, the 503rd Parachute RCT Association and the Returned & Services League of Australia.

He also belonged to the American Rocket Society, the Hawaii State Society, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association and the White House Communications Association.

An accomplished self-taught classical Hawaiian steel guitarist, Mr. Rambo performed professionally until three years ago.

He began playing the instrument at 13 after meeting guitarist Les Paul at a concert in Philadelphia. After the concert, Paul took the teenager to a music store, where he first played. There, Colonel Rambo bought a steel guitar with earnings from his newspaper route.

Survivors include his wife, Lorraine Rambo of Arlington; two children, Barbara Rambo of San Francisco and Bruce Rambo of Turkey; a sister; and two grandsons.


On Thursday, June 8, 2006 of Arlington, Virginia; beloved husband of Lorraine Rambo; loving father of Bruce E. and Barbara L. Rambo; sister of Margaret M. Jones; devoted grandfather of Scott and Stewart Goossens.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 11 a.m. at Fort Myer Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army or Capital Hospice.

DATE OF BIRTH: 06/26/1918
DATE OF DEATH: 06/08/2006


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