After graduating from high school, Charles Link enlisted in the Air Force and served as a jet engine and aircraft mechanic until he attended the last Air Force Officer Candidate School class, 63-D. Upon completion, he was commissioned in June 1963. He then served as an aircraft maintenance officer until entering pilot training in January 1967 at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz. After receiving pilot wings, he attended F-4 training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., then OV-10 forward air controller training at Hurlburt Field, Fla. In March 1969, he was assigned as a forward air controller for the 1st Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Tay Ninh, South Vietnam.
In addition to operational commands at wing and numbered air force levels, he served as deputy director for political-military affairs, J-5, the Joint Staff, and director of plans and policy, J-5, U.S. European Command. Prior to his current assignment, he was special assistant to the chief of staff for roles and missions, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Charles retired from the Air Force in 1997 in the rank of major general. Prior to his retirement, he served as special assistant to the chief of staff for the National Defense Review at Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C. Later, he provided consultant services for several Washington area policy and security firms and was employed by Fox News as their military consultant. Prior to being appointed to his current position, Link was president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation.
Charles is currently serving as a member of the Senior Executive Service, and is director, Developing Aerospace Leaders Program Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He serves as the senior adviser to the chief of staff and the deputy chief of staff for personnel concerning developing aerospace leaders, including the conceptualization, planning, resourcing, acquisition, and implementation of new leadership development programs for the total force. This includes reviews and analysis of key emerging issues within the Department of the Air Force of direct and substantial interest and concern to senior leadership.
He acts as the Air Force’s single focal point and spokesman for all leadership development. and advocates the Air Force’s institutional needs and interests, ensuring they are protected and maximized in the context of leadership development. He directs the formulation and execution of long-range, strategic plans for Air Force implementation of leadership development initiatives, and ensures consistency and complementary interface among all the Air Force and Department of Defense leadership development initiatives and communications plans.
1975 Bachelor of Science degree in social studies, Troy State University
1975 Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.;
1984 National War College, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.