Military History of
Fredrick Charles Oakes (b. 29 July 1927–d. 8 October 1999)
22 Feb 45–10 July 1946 Enlisted in U. S. Navy short of his 18th birthday and high school graduation in Vicksburg, MS. Basic training was in Shoemaker, CA. His Service No. was 848 40 04. He wass listed as joining the USS Intrepid May 25, 1945, having transferred from TADCEN, Shoemaker, CA. He was listed as “Received on Navy Ship 3149” Shoemaker, CA. the first day of July 1945. The first day on board was June 6, 1945. The 1st day of August 1945, he was listed as “Transferred U. S. Naval Supply Depot, Navy 3002, Com Ser For 7th Flt, STO 2358-45 to PCE (R) 848.” Date of transfer is 28th. The Intrepid was captained by Captain Giles E. Short.
He served on the USS Intrepid (Essex Class) in the South Pacific and Japan. He said he was a messenger and often was sent to the tower. Below is some background on the ship around the time Charles Oakes served. The picture is of the USS Intrepid in November, 1944, in the Philippine Sea, some months before Charles Oakes joined it.
Mid-February 1945: Back in fighting trim, the carrier steamed for Ulithi. Ulithi is an atoll in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean. Ulithi was a major staging area for the U.S. Navy in the final year of the Second World War.
13 March: She arrived at Ulithi.
14 March 1945: She set off eastward.
18 March: She made powerful strikes against airfields on Kyūshū. That morning a twin-engined Japanese G4M "Betty" broke through a curtain of defensive fire turned toward Intrepid and exploded only 50 feet (15 m) off USS Intrepid's forward boat crane. A shower of flaming gasoline and aircraft parts started fires on the hangar deck, but damage control teams quickly put them out. Intrepid's aircraft joined attacks on remnants of the Japanese fleet anchored at Kure, damaging 18 enemy naval vessels including super battleship Yamato and carrier Amagi. On this day the USS Alaska's AA gims brought down a Japanese plane headed for the USS Intrepid. A relative of Charles', Sylvan Letney was aboard the Alaska. The carriers turned to Okinawa as L-Day, the start of the most ambitious amphibious assault of the Pacific war, approached.
26 March and 27 March: Their aircraft attacked the Ryūkyūs, softening up enemy defensive works.
1 April 1945 (L-Day): The invasion began 1 April. They flew support missions against targets on Okinawa and made neutralizing raids against Japanese airfields in range of the island.
16 April: During an air raid, a Japanese aircraft dived into Intrepid's flight deck forcing the engine and part of her fuselage right on through, killing 8 men and wounding 21. In less than an hour, the flaming gasoline had been extinguished, and only 3 hours after the crash, aircraft were again landing on the carrier.
17 April: Intrepid retired homeward via Ulithi and Pearl Harbor.
19 May: She arrived at San Francisco for repairs.
15 June: The “Young Terrell” referred to in the article above was a family friend. His name was Louis (Lewis) Conrad Terrell. The 1930 Census has him born 1924. In that census, his father was Lewis J. (age 51), his mother (35) was Mary C., and he had a brother Floyd S. (4). His father was manager of Warren County Prison Farm at Ballground, MS, on Highway No. 3 north of Vicksburg. All were listed as born in MS. Records show that Conrad enlisted in the U. S. Army 17 August 1943, at Camp Shelby, MS. It lists that he had four years of high school education, was a clerk, and was single. He was released from service Dec. 25, 1945. As the article above indicates, Conrad participated in the liberation of Paris and earned a Bronze Star.
His brother Floyd S., born June 26, 1926, enlisted November 30, 1945. His residence was Clarke, MS, however he enlisted in Fort Ord, CA. He was married and had one year of high school. His height was 87 (no units), weight, 459, again no units. The U.S. Veterans Gravesites Records listed Floyd Scott Terrell, US Air Force death date as March 11, 2001. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1751 Hwy 190, West Slidell, LA, 70460.
According to his daughter Connie Cockrell Terrell, Conrad had another younger brother George Terrell.
Conrad’s father, Lewis Terrell, appears in the 1920 Census with another wife and large number of children. They lived in Phoenix, MS, which was where Fred Oakes might have first met them. In the 1930 Census, his first wife Etta and a number of the children are living in Franklin Parish Louisiana, she is listed as a “Widow.” Fred Oakes left a story on one of his tapes that relates. He and Lewis Terrell in 1923 are both working at the Y & MV Railroad. He said Lewis was from Phoenix and enjoyed some drinking and gambling. He described Lewis Terrell as slow in speaking. He would take three deep breaths before responding to a question. Around 1927 or 1928, Mr. Terrell was required to fill out papers for US Income Tax. Fred Oakes and Terrell went to the tax office which was filled with people making applications. At the time, both were working for Y & MV Railroad in Vicksburg. The tax clerk asked him his name, after a long pause he said, “L. J. Terrell.” The clerk next asked what was his occupation. He said, “Car knocker.” This was a nickname for a railroad mechanic. Then the clerk asked if he had any dependents? Silence was followed by “ Two wives and 13 children. A wife and 10 children in Phoenix and a wife and 3 children in Vicksburg.” (The numbers remembered by Fred Oakes were probably exaggerated, since the census records would indicate 8 children in Phoenix and 2 in Vicksburg.) All noise in the room stopped as everyone in the room waited for the clerk’s reaction. The clerk admonished him, “This is official business.” He demanded that Terrell take this interview seriously. Mr. Terrell said, “ I didn’t come up here to play marbles. A man in my position wouldn’t joke about this.” Louis next volunteered that he was paying alimony to the wife in Phoenix. The clerk then ask if any of his children were working? Louis said, “I don’t know that, but I do know that those that are don’t make enough to hid their asses.” The clerk asked how much he made during the year? “Thirteen hundred dollars,” he replied. The clerk ended the interview with, “Mr. Terrell, unless you strike oil, don’t bother to ever come back to this office.” This story would indicate that he and Etta were divorced. Whether he died in a short interval between census collection in MS and LA or whether the widowed designation by Etta was an error is unknown.
In a scrapbook prepared by Margie Oakes for her son, Donald, she remarks that Conrad worked for Oakes Auto Parts and would help bathe and put her boys to bed at night.
Conrad married Annie Mae Bridges.
Continuing Charles Oakes Timeline... 29 June: Intrepid left San Francisco.
(Suspect Charles Oakes joined the ship at this time. He mentioned to Mel Oakes that a kamikaze plane hit the ship but caused little damage.) 6 August: In passing, her aircraft smashed Japanese on bypassed Wake Island.
7 August: She arrived at Eniwetok, an atoll in the Marshall Islands.
15 August: At Eniwetok she received word to "cease offensive operations."
21 August: The veteran carrier got under way to support the occupation of Japan.
2 December: She departed Yokosuka.
15 December 1945: She arrived San Pedro, California.
10 July 1946: Charles returned home and completes high school requirements. Employed as Truck Driver at U. S. Waterways Experimental Station, Vicksburg, MS.
7 April 1948: Charles enlisted in Jackson, MS as a Corporal in United State Air Force. Assigned to Westover AFB, MA (near Chicopee Falls). Motor pool driver and later dispatcher after it was discovered he could type.
August 1948: He was sent to Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS where he requested Aircraft & Engine Mechanic School. Completed and successfully applied to be an instructor. The School moved to Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, TX in 1949. He moved in Nov. 1949. During this time he was promoted to Staff Sergeant by Jan 1951.
25 September 1948, He married Mary Jo Gibson in Vicksburg, MS. See marriage license and certificate below. 7 April 1951: Re-enlisted in Air Force. In March promoted to tech sergeant.
May 1954: He was sent to the Philippines and later to Okinawa. There he was Crew Chief of B-29s in the 581st Air Re-supply Squadron. It was a cloak and dagger outfit–low level. They were clandestinely hauling supplies to Chiang Kai-shek through Thailand.
1957: Sent to Homestead AFB, Florida. Served in KC97 Air Refueling Squadron. He had many TDYs (temporary duty assignments) including Africa, English Azores, Bermuda, etc. While in this unit, he flew once over his parent’s home in Vicksburg.
May 1959: Sent to Keesler in Biloxi as quality control inspector and flight test engineer. May 1960: Returned to Sheppard to teach. While there he was promoted to Master Sergeant.
July 1961: Mary Jo and Charles Oakes (picture below)
May 1964: He is sent to Vietnam. Bien Hoa, He called it a “bad place”. Located about 23 miles north of Saigon.
November 1, 1964: Halloween night they were under mortar attack. The attack began at 12:26 a.m. and lasted for 15 to 20 minutes from an estimated 3-81mm mortars. Twenty-seven aircraft were hit (twenty B57s; four helicopters (not Army); and, three A1Hs). A fourth A1H crashed attempting to take-off. Six killed and 19 wounded. “What a mess!”, Charles said. Four Vietnam photos at end of this article.
May 1965: Reassigned to Patrick Air Force Base at Cape Canaveral, FL He was Flight Chief of Reciprocating Engine Flights. “I did well here because I knew the physics and systems.” We had C131s, one T29, C54a, two SA16s, two U3As, one C47 and one C118. (Note added by Mel Oakes: Charlie said many of his planes were used to photograph space launches from Cape Canaveral.
May 1966: Returned to Sheppard to teach again. Photo taken in Wichta Falls, TX.
5 May 1967: He was later asked to return to Vietnam; however, he refused and could only avoid returning by leaving the military which he did. Took a job with the civilian outfit, Servair, maintaining training aircraft at Sheppard AFB. They lost the contract one year later and Northrop took over. They were a better outfit.
7 May 1971: Voluntarily retired from Reserve.
1983/84: Worked for Northrop until moving to Houston 1983/84 to be near his daughter, Linda Vaughan and her family. No more jobs after that.
Unknown, Fredrick Charles Oakes and Mary Jo Gibson, Betty, Gibson, Vicksburg, MS, September 25, 1948
Charles and Mary Jo Gibson Oakes Photo Gallery
Back: Charles, Melvin, Warren and Fred Oakes,
Front: Dale and Bill Oakes
Florida, ca 1967.
Front: Warren Oakes, Bill Oakes, Sandra Winter, Mel Oakes
Second Row: Margie Oakes, Mildred Oakes, Dale Oakes, Linda Oakes, Lois Winter, Fred Oakes
Back Row: Eleanor Oakes, Frances Oakes, Mary Jo Oakes, Charles Oakes, Robert Winter.
Florida, ca 1967.
Linda, Mary Jo, Dale and Charles Oakes,
Florida, ca 1967
Mel, Fred, Mary Jo and Linda Oakes, Satellite Beach, FL, 1967
Dale Oakes and his son, Nick Oakes, 2020
?, ?, Charles Oakes, Floyd Oakes
Donald Oakes, Ch. Col. Billy Joe Jones, Floyd Oakes and Melvin Oakes
at the dedication of ashes of Tech. sergent Fredrick Charles Oakes at Cedar Hills Cemetery. Billy Joe led the service. 2000
Fredrick Charles Oakes and Mary Jo Gibson’s Marriage Certificate, Vicksburg, MS, 1948