Charles Burlingame

Charles Burlingame
Charles Burlingame.jpg
Charles Burlingame in airplane cockpit
Charles Frank Burlingame III

(1949-09-12)September 12, 1949
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 51)
Cause of death Plane crash
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Education U.S. Naval Academy B.S. 1971
Occupation Pilot
Spouse(s) Sheri Burlingame

Charles Frank "Chic" Burlingame III (September 12, 1949 – September 11, 2001) was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, the aircraft that was crashed by terrorists into the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks.


Burlingame was born September 12, 1949, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to parents Charles F. "Chuck" Burlingame Jr. (1923–1999) and Patricia Ann Burlingame (née Meyer; 1930–2000).[1] He moved frequently as a son of an active duty member of the United States Air Force, spending parts of his childhood in California and England.[2] Burlingame graduated from Anaheim High School, California, in 1967. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its highest rank, Eagle Scout.[3]

Burlingame graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1971.[4] In the Navy, upon receiving his naval aviator wings, he flew F-4 Phantom jets in Fighter Squadron 103 (VF-103) aboard the USS Saratoga, rising to the rank of Captain. He was an honor graduate of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) aboard NAS Miramar, California. In 1979, Burlingame left active duty with the Navy and joined American Airlines, though he remained in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He volunteered to be activated during the Gulf War.[2] He also spent time working in The Pentagon, while in the Naval Reserve.[5]

He was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (with one service star), the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (with one service star), the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, and the Navy Expert Rifleman Medal.[6]

Burlingame retired as a Navy Reserve Captain in 1996 and worked at American Airlines.[7]

He was married to an American Airlines flight attendant, Sheri Burlingame.[8] They lived in Oak Hill, Virginia.[9]


Burlingame's name is located on Panel S-69 of the National September 11 Memorial's South Pool, along with those of other passengers of Flight 77.
Burlingame's gravestone at Arlington

Burlingame was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, with First Officer David Charlebois, before it was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon. Unlike the other three flights, there were no reports of anyone being stabbed or a bomb threat and he might not have been murdered by the hijackers but shoved to the back of the plane with the rest of the passengers, according to Barbara Olson, a passenger on the flight, who asked her husband on her mobile: "What do I tell the pilot to do?" suggesting Burlingame was next to her at the back of the aircraft. He would have turned 52 the day after the incident.[10]

Burlingame was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. He was initially deemed ineligible for burial there due to his status as a reservist deceased at an age younger than 60, but Burlingame was given a waiver and his case triggered reform of Arlington's burial criteria.[dead link][11] Astronaut Frank Culbertson, Burlingame's friend and classmate at the Naval Academy and who had witnessed and photographed the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks from space, played taps on his trumpet at Burlingame's memorial service.[12]

At the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Burlingame is memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-69.[9]

His death is mentioned in the musical Come from Away.

See also


  1. ^ Burlingame's parents Archived September 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine,
  2. ^ a b Nelson, Todd; Phillip Pina (September 12, 2001). "Twin Citians Mourn, Await News of Victims". Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
  3. ^ Charles F. Burlingame III, an Eagle Scout Archived March 25, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Gottlieb, Sandra (September 12, 2001). "Local doctor's brother piloted ill-fated flight 77". Lancaster New Era.
  5. ^ King, Larry; Amy S. Rosenberg, Jonathan Gelb (September 13, 2001). "Pilot whose jet hit Pentagon had worked there". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  6. ^ Charles F. Burlingame III awards Archived March 25, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Remembering the Pentagon Victims: Charles Burlingame". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  8. ^ Levine, Susan (September 13, 2001). "Flight 77: Hope Replaced by Grief; Among the Dead From Jetliner Are Lawyers and Engineers, Couples and Children". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ a b Charles F. Burlingame III Archived November 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Memorial Guide: National 9/11 Memorial. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  10. ^ National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004). "Chapter 1". 9/11 Commission Report. Government Printing Office.
  11. ^ Chris Smith Archived November 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Davenport, Christian; Vitkovskaya, Julie (June 19, 2019). "What's it really like to live in space? 50 astronauts share their stories". Washington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2019.

External links