Charles D. Back formerly of Louisa and Fort Gay

Funeral services for a former Ashland, Louisa, and Fort Gay resident who served 26 years in the Air Force and attained the highest enlisted rank and was the recipient of one of the military branch’s most prestigious awards, will be conducted Wednesday, December 28 in Universal City, TX. Charles D. Back, 71, died December 13. A resident of Gilbert, AZ, he retired from the USAF as a Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) and then worked for Honeywell for 20 years. He was born in Fort Gay to Pheobe Ratliff Back of Ashland and the late David Back. Also surviving are his wife Maria (Joyce) Back and their children Guy, Gary, Wendy, David and Crystal, and grandchildren; Jessica, Devon, Cody, Pheobe, Carson and James. He is also survived by two sisters Patricia (Elton) Ramey and Martha (James) Preston both of Ashland. The funeral will be held at Colonial Funeral Home in Universal City at noon with burial in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. He grew up in Louisa and Fort Gay and attended Ashland High School and Berea College. He was a 1958 graduate of Fort Gay High School. CMSgt Back was the subject of a feature story in the Ashland Daily Independent in July of 1981. Earlier that month he had been presented the Dudley C. Sharp Award during a ceremony at Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio, TX. The presentation was made by Secretary of the Air Force Verne Orr and CMSgt Back was the first enlisted recipient. He was given the honor for developing and testing a centralized aircraft support system. It had a projected life-cycle savings of more than $75 million in personnel, fuel and maintenance costs for the Air Training Command. Other military honors include: Airman of the Quarter, Man of the Year, a meritorious service medal for outstanding achievement, two Air Force commendation medals and five campaign stars for Vietnam service. He had tours in Northern Africa, England and Southeast Asia, including Cambodia and Da Nang, Vietnam. CMSgt Back began working on his new logistical support system in 1978 and it had to receive Congressional approval. He worked with architectural engineers contracted to design the Centralized Aircraft Support System which was tested and put into service at Randolph. It was designed to service T-38 trainers and was to be expanded to other Air Training Command bases. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Fort Gay Baptist Church, PO Box 184, Fort Gay WV 25514 or the FGHS Alumnia Assn c/o Joe Damron, 211 Hardwick Ridge Road, Fort