Biographical Notes re

Charles A. (Chuck) Stone

Page 1 of 6 Pages, of Chapter 9,


We took to the road on our way to Washington and yet another chapter of life. Enroute, we arranged to stop and visit with now Lt. Col. L. A. Brown, who was receiving extensive radiation treatments at the Scott AFB Hospital and then moved on toward Washington D.C. We arrived in our new community with very few reserve financial resources, having to buy “high” and sell “low” at our last two stations. We could only hope to find a good rental in the Washington area. We got lucky and found a couple who had just moved into a new house in Springfield, Virginia, where the husband was suddenly being transferred overseas by the State Department. He was going for a four year assignment and our tour in Washington was for four years. It seemed a deal made in heaven.

Chuck & Nell Stone visit the grave of
Lt. Col. L.. A. Brown, Arlington, VA,
Fall of 1962

As we settled into our home I began learning the trek into town on the Shirley Highway, called by many, the “World’s Longest Parking Lot”. Checking in at the Bolling Personnel Management Office was easier for me than finding my way from home to the Pentagon parking lot, into the building, to the office, to the parking lot and home. Kind of a challenge for this country boy. During the first week I even got lost going to the bathroom at work. With practice though, I learned to really appreciate the building layout and design. If you knew the hall and stairway layout, you could get from point A to point B very quickly. My workplace was located in the Personnel Training and Education Office, with a Lt. Colonel in charge, and two other officers who had their own areas of training responsibility and one secretary, shared by all. Not a plush set up by any means. After I was there for a while, they moved all of the offices around. The public announcement was that the Pentagon was reducing its total staff. All I know is that every time we moved, in the next four years as part of a staff reduction process, our office space diminished. That newspaper propaganda was just that!

The man I replaced gave my family a welcoming party at his house. He showed me his office desk and the pile of stuff he had accumulated and soon disappeared from sight. My orientation would be on the run. My primary responsibilities, as was true at 2nd AF, involved Marksmanship Training and Competition, Physical Fitness (rather than Combative Measures which was a SAC-only requirement), Code of Conduct, and a few loose ends. General LeMay was now Chief of Staff and was still pushing his shooting training program. President Kennedy was in the saddle as President, and he had just declared that the general population was not physically fit and the armed services would provide the example as to how that would all be changed for the better.

One of my first scheduled meetings was with the Physical Fitness Program Managers from each of the services. We met in the offices of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness where they could clue us in on the President’s intentions. They let us know what would be expected. This included establishment of specific fitness criteria for various age groups and annual tests for compliance with weight and fitness standards. I had inherited a USAF program recently adopted from the Canadians called the X BX Plan (for women) and VBX Plan (for men), RCAF Pamphlet 30/2. This program had been distributed USAF wide as AFP 50-5. The program had 10 recommended exercise regimens for women and 5 for the men. Each system was scaled for different age levels, but contained no specific testing criteria. The USAF program, up to this point, had been a voluntary program where there was no directive that personnel would take duty time for participation.

About the end of my second week at work, when I was finally finding my way to the bathroom and lunchrooms and back, without a seeing eye dog, the phone rang in our office for the umpteenth time that day. The secretary, Francis Clarke, said, “Captain Stone, It’s for you, and it’s the White House calling.” While crossing the room to pick up the phone I commented to Fran, “I guess President Kennedy is just calling to welcome me to Washington.” Answering the phone, I learned it was the USAF Aid to the President, General Godfrey P. McHugh, who was gunning for me. He said, “I want to talk to the man who is directly responsible for the Air Force Physical Fitness Program.” I replied, “Sir, I am the lowest ranking man in the office, I have been on duty here now for two weeks, and I am responsible for the Air Force Physical Fitness Program. What can I do for you?” His reply was, “Well, we just want to know who to fire if things don’t go in accordance with President Kennedy’s wishes”. My reply was, “Sir, if you are going to have the privilege of firing me, I would like to have the privilege of running this program in any way I see fit, without having to coordinate it with the other 30,000 people in this building.” His reply was, “Well, I just want you to know we are serious about this.” Then he hung up the phone. I was off to a great start at USAF Headquarters.

This is the USAF version of
the Canadian XBX
(10 basic exercises) Plan for


The Plan for Men
was called the VBX Plan
(5 basic exercises).

I passed word of this conversation up through channels in hopes it might pave the way when I would soon be coordinating policy papers for signature through multiple departments, enroute to the supervisory level appropriate for the subject matter. They had my full attention before this phone call, but it did inspire me a bit in sorting out my work priorities. I realized that converting the V & X BX Programs from a volunteer to mandatory programs, with annual testing for compliance, would provide a lot of hoops to jump over. As an early defensive measure, I asked the USAF Surgeon General’s Office to assign an appropriate Staff Officer/Doctor who would help me develop the criteria for the directive that would soon become part of the Air Force Regulations library. They named a Lt. Colonel who turned out to be grossly overweight and totally disenchanted with spoken or written phrases that included the terms “physical fitness”. He would accompany me to meetings with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and I can’t imagine the talk he generated around their offices out of our hearing. We attended a National Fitness Conference in Atlanta and I observed that when he was eating he was shoving food down his throat at a great rate as though he hadn’t had a bite to eat for a month. I could see that the forward movement of the USAF fitness program would not get any great boost from this man.

In the meantime, I was dealing with other issues, including Marksmanship Training. The Cuban Missile Crisis was getting into full gear. The Washington psyche was getting tighter than a G-String. You could feel the community-wide tension driving to and from work. With the threat of nuclear war hanging over the nation’s capitol, I laid the groundwork for the on-the job battles I could see looming before me. That same fall, I attended the funeral of Lt. Col. L. A. Brown at Arlington Cemetery. A sad time, shared with his wife and children, with whom we remain in close touch, even today.

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