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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 is of the AC-1 flight with Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, whose letter about the experience is included as well. Also, in the collection are Bock's step-by-step instructions for President Ford's visit to Rockwell International and his tour of the B-1 bomber, along with corresponding newspaper articles.


  • 1956 - 2014


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

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, through which he received his navigator wings and a commission. He then served state-side in various assignments, and separated from service on February 2, 1945. Bock was then on reserve status, while he attended Purdue University. He received his degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue in 1949.

After a short period at Boeing, Bock was back in uniform in April 1950, and began pilot training with the United States Air Force. By 1951, he was a certified pilot and flew fifty-one combat missions 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. Per his biographical information supplied by the Air Force, “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. He served at Edwards Air Force Base from 1954-1960.

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 for 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.


1.438 Cubic Feet (One letter-size full width manuscript box and two small flat boxes)


The papers have been grouped by type of material. Within box one there are eight folders, grouped by folder as: writings and flight test reports, photographs, newspaper clippings and articles, published material, correspondence, and awards. Audio visual material, specifically VHS tapes and film reels can be found in boxes two and three.

Technical Access Information

All VHS tapes and 16mm films have been digitized. A computer with capability to playback digital video files is required to access recordings. Arrangements need to be made ahead of time to use the audio visual material. Contact Purdue University Archives and Special Collections if interested in using this material.

Custodial History

Two documents were added to the papers on June 7, 2019, and are in folder seven of the papers. The material originally came from the Purdue University News Bureau. The documents were removed from this collection: MSP 43, Purdue University photographs on June 6, 2019, due to unknown provenance, per recommendation by the digital archivist.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated by Charles C. Bock, Jr. on October 29, 2014, November 4, 2014, and December 2, 2014.

Processing Information

All material has been placed in acid-free boxes and folders. All of the post-it notes that had been on the material have been removed, photocoped, and placed alongside its original item. of the post-it notes placed following the materials they were attached to.
Charles C. Bock, Jr. papers
Hannah Vaughn and Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2015-09-09.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States