Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Bock, Charles C., Jr. (Charles Cornelius), 1925-



  • Existence: November 24, 1925-

Biographical Information

Charles Cornelius Bock, Jr. was born November 24, 1925 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cornelius Bock. His career in aviation first began in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program near the end of 1943. He enlisted to fly P-38 aircraft and completed Navigation School. Bock was then trained in flying B-29 bombers right before World War II ended and was off active duty by February of 1946. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1949 and after a short period at Boeing, began pilot training with the United States Air Force in 1950. By 1951, he was a certified pilot and flew a fifty-one mission combat tour with the 3rd Bomb Wing in Korea in 1952. Bock completed the United States Air Force Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1954 and remained at Edwards Air Force Base assigned to the Bomber Branch of Flight Test Operations. During this tour of duty, he participated in many UNited States Air Force flight test programs, including the B-66, B-52, B-58, KC-135, and C-141. He was also a launch pilot for experimental aircraft, such as the X-2, and the initial and primary launch pilot for the X-15. Bock developed new flight techniques needed to solve problems created by the one-sided 33,300-pound load under the B-52s right wing. Among them were take-offs and landings complicated by structural changes that prevented use of the B-52s wing flaps, as the flaps are needed to increase take-off lift and reduce landing speed. This period also provided Bock the opportunity to fly many other aircraft of the day and to conduct a three flight evaluation of the RAF AVRO Vulcan Bomber in England.

Bock was reassigned in 1960 to Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was the winner of a Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals of his 51 B-26 bombing missions in Korea. He put in another year as an advanced operations planner at Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland before returning to Edwards Air Force Base for the first student class of the Aerospace Research Pilot School in 1962. After completion, Bock was assigned to the YF-12/SR-71 Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, flew both of these aircraft, and performed many of the early USAF flight tests on the SR-71 Blackbird. In 1967, he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C. This was followed by combat crew training in the F-100 aircraft, and a two year tour in England as Assistant Director of Combat Operations of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing. While in England, Bock was promoted to the rank of Colonel and helped convert the 20th Fighter Wing to F-111 aircraft. His next assignment was to the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing during the Vietnam War as the Director of Combat Operations. He flew fifty-two combat missions in F-100 aircraft before the Wing was phased out. Bock finished his Vietnam duty at Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, in Saigon. After a period of duty with the Air National Guard as Chief of Safety at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., he retired from the Air Force in 1973 to accept a position with Rockwell International. Bock was appointed Chief Test Pilot, B-1 division, and made the first flight of the B-1 bomber on September 23, 1974. He accumulated six hundred flying hours in the B-1 before retiring.


MSA 315, Charles C. Bock, Jr. papers. Box 1, Folder 1. Writings and flight test reports. Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles C. Bock, Jr. papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 315
Scope and Contents The Charles C. Bock, Jr. papers document the vast career of a test pilot. Within the collection, there is material about the Bell X-2, the X-15 (Rocket aircraft), the SR-71 Blackbird (Jet reconnaissance plane), the Rockwell B-1 (Bomber), and many other types of experimental aircraft. Included are photographs of fellow Purdue University alumni and "America's No. 1 Spaceman" Iven C. Kincheloe, Jr. In addition to the thirty-one photographs, the collection consists of nine 16mm films, one of which...
Dates: 1956 - 2014