Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Charles T. Horner III, U.S. Army (Retired), passed away peacefully on Sunday April 3, 2022. He is survived by his loving wife of fifty three years, Mary Kathryn, his sister Charlotte (Jeff), brothers Richard (Peggy), Colin (Chris), and Michael (Lori), sister-in-law Taylor Barlow (Bill), many nieces, nephews and cousins. LTC Horner is preceded in death by his parents, Major General Charles T. Horner Jr. and Joan (Davy) Horner.
Charlie was born February 17, 1947 at Ft. Monroe VA. As a military dependent, he lived in a number places during his youth, both in the United States and Europe. As a boy, he loved his time in England living with his maternal grandfather, aunt and cousins. He maintained contact with his family in Colchester, England throughout his life.
LTC Horner was an Artillery Officer who served in Vietnam with the Army’s 1St Infantry Division (The Big Red One) as a 1/5 FA forward observer for infantry ground units, receiving two Bronze Stars for Valor. His many Army assignments included Artillery Battery Commander, 197th Infantry Regiment; Commander, Nuclear Weapons Detachment, Turkey; Artillery Battalion Executive Officer, DMZ Korea, and Army staff officer, Pentagon. His last years on active duty in the Pentagon were spent as a liaison officer to the Congressional Appropriation Committees for the Army Budget.
Upon retiring from active duty, Charlie continued to serve his country for many years as a public civil servant. He was a highly respected budgeteer for the Defense Department, NASA, and the United States House of Representatives. The Honorable John Hamre, OSD Comptroller stated: “I learned more about how to be a Comptroller from Charlie than anyone else.” Charlie served as senior advisor to the Undersecretary of the Army, to the Secretary of the Navy, and to the Office of the Secretary of Defense-Comptroller. He also served as the Deputy and Acting Secretary of the Army for Financial Management during the "war on terrorism" following 9/11. Following his Pentagon service, he served as Assistant Administrator (Legislative Affairs) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Following his NASA tour, LTC Horner served under contract to the House Appropriations Committee, Surveys and Investigation Staff. He then performed his last service to Congress, as the Principal Legislative Staff Assistant to House Appropriations Defense Chairman, John P. Murtha. Overall, LTC Horner provided nearly 50 years of dedicated public service to our nation.
As a combat officer, he was intensely passionate about ensuring our service men and women had what they needed in deployment and were not forgotten when they came home. Throughout his military and civil servant careers, he was laser focused on equipping, training, morale and welfare, and providing good housing and medical care while holding government agencies responsible for accountability to the taxpayer. Charlie was regarded as an invaluable resource to Members of Congress and staff explaining military strengths, shortcomings, requirements for new weapons systems and what soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines needed in order to do their jobs and take care of their families.
LTC Horner organized and led countless Congressional trips to almost every troubled spot in the world from Panama, Desert Storm, Haiti, Somalia, Korea, the Balkans, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Middle East. Asked once if a Congressional Delegation would like to visit Waterloo during their trip, Charlie’s response was “The Chairman normally only visits active battlefields.”
Charlie loved golf and was a “scratch golfer” who was in high demand as a golfing partner in many Washington foursomes that included Congressmen, Senators, and a President. He successfully competed in the Washington Metro area matches representing the Army Navy Country Club "A" team. In retirement, he competed on the Virginia and Florida Senior Amateur circuits. Charlie immensely enjoyed living and golfing in Naples, FL with his “snow bird friends”.
He loved cats, Formula 1 racing, classic cars, and classic rock bands to include Queen, the Kinks, and the Rolling Stones. He was a loyal supporter of the University of Richmond Spiders and followed most major league sports, especially Baltimore sports teams. He particularly enjoyed French cuisine, fine Bordeaux wine, Kronenbourg beer and discussing global politics and economies. Charlie was a voracious reader. He loved to read military history and geopolitics especially about world leaders in the 20th Century. His favorites to name a few were Winston Churchill, George C. Marshall, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
He was very proud to serve with the “Big Red One” in combat following the steps of his father who commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment at Omaha Beach on D-Day. Years later, Major General Charles Horner Jr. gave his son a personal tour of the Omaha Beach. Working with the House Appropriations Members and Staff and the American Battle Monuments Commission, LTC Horner was integral to the Committees' success in securing much needed funding for the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. The funding provided for essential repair, maintenance and building of a new Visitor Center. Charlie was an active member of the Big Red One Society and participated every year at the Division reunion and the 1st Division monument ceremonies in Washington, D.C.
He graduated from Paris American High School (1963), Valley Forge Military College (1966), the University of Richmond BBA (1968), and George Washington University MBA (1980).
His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (2OLC) for Valor, Air Medal (14 OLC), and Meritorious Service Medal (4OLC).
His civilian awards include Who's Who in Professionals and Executives, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Defense Superior Service Medal. LTC Horner was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in July 2000.
LTC Horner was truly an “Unsung Hero” and a great American Patriot. His tireless, no-nonsense, behind the scenes work had a tremendous impact for the Defense Department and the Defense Appropriation Committee in supporting and maintaining our Armed Forces.
He was a beloved husband, brother, uncle and friend and cherished colleague whose energy, vision, and singular character will be sorely missed by many. Thankfully, he leaves behind a treasure trove of wonderful and fond memories.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the 1st Infantry Division Foundation, Washington, DC Monument Fund, in memory of LTC Charles T. Horner III, 1/5 FA 1969-70, P.O. Box 607, Ambler, PA 19002-0607 or your favorite charity.
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