Rear Adm. Charles Williams is a native of Virginia and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia. He commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program and holds master’s degrees in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and in national security from the Naval Command and Staff College.
At sea he served aboard USS Deyo (DD 989), USS Elliot (DD 967) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54). He commanded USS Firebolt (PC 10) in Norfolk and USS Stethem (DDG 63) in San Diego, participating in the Operational Test and Evaluation of the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons System.
Overseas, Williams commanded Destroyer Squadron 15 in Yokosuka, Japan, serving as sea combat commander for the George Washington Carrier Strike Group and as the on-scene commander for the Navy’s response to the sinking of the Republic of Korea ship Cheonan. He later served as chief of staff for the Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, including during Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. response to support Japan in disaster relief following the March 2011 Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
Staff assignments ashore include tours in the Joint Staff, in the command, control, communications and computers (J-6) directorate, Current Operations Division; as head, junior officer assignments, in Surface Warfare (Pers-41); and as deputy, Surface Warfare Combat Systems, on the chief of naval operations staff.
His flag officer tours include commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, commander, Task Force (CTF) 73 and Singapore area coordinator; and commander, Carrier Strike Group 5 and commander, Task Force 70.
Williams’ decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal among other individual and unit awards.