Charles Kuhns was born April 10‚ 1927‚ to James and Goldie (Brown) Kuhns in Bullskin Township‚ Fay County‚ Pennsylvania. He married Mary (Behan) Kuhns on June 14‚ 1951 in Denver‚ Colorado and they had five children: Charles M. Kuhns (retired Battalion Chief)‚ Eileen M. Lee (Office Manager)‚ Mary M. Spirakus (Electrical Engineer)‚ James M. Kuhns (retired Fire Department Lieutenant and Volunteer Assistant Fire Chief)‚ and John M Kuhns (Electrical Engineer). Charlie enjoyed his family and looked forward to spending time with his grandchildren.
After completing grammar school and working as a lumberjack he enlisted in the United States Army on June 19‚ 1945. His enlistment was for the duration of the Wars. After three years of service with the U.S. Army Charlie was honorably discharged to begin a career with the United States Air Force firefighter.
Charlie wanted to be a firefighter because he loved helping people and working with his hands. He completed his GED‚ basic firefighter training‚ fire prevention‚ fire protection supervisor‚ fire investigation and the Air Force Fire Chief courses. Charlie strived to assist others by evaluating new crash and structural firefighting equipment‚ automatic sprinkler systems and fire warning systems.
Technical Sergeant Kuhns enjoyed solving problems to make others’ lives better. While assigned to Ladd Air Force Base‚ Alaska he noticed that access to water in the Chena River was a problem in the winter. During the long winter season‚ when the Chena river is frozen over‚ this became a serious and an expensive problem. Four airmen were detailed six hours per day‚ seven days per week from November to May to cut open and maintain established holes in the river ice. He invented a device that allowed a standpipe to be installed‚ which proved an ample source of water at all times‚ saving the U.S. Air Force thousands of dollars.
Charlie spent twenty-three years in the United States Air Force for nineteen years he served as either Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chief in the Panama Canal Zone‚ Alaskan Air Command‚ Nellis Air Force Base‚ a missile base in Germany‚ Colorado Springs‚ Colorado‚ Tule Greenland‚ and Cheyenne‚ Wyoming. After receiving many accommodation medals for his service‚ he retired from military service in 1968 as a Senior Master Sergeant.
Throughout his life he has been continually placed in leadership positions. He accepted the position of Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal for the State of Wyoming from 1968 to 1973. From 1973 to 1974 he was the Life Safety Consultant for the Department of Health for the State of Wyoming. During this time Charlie authored a Guideline for Medical Facilities‚ Disaster and/or Evacuation Plans for the State of Wyoming‚ which was published and distributed in the states of Wyoming‚ Colorado‚ and Utah.
Chief Kuhns continued his work as a Department of Defense firefighter by accepting a civil service fire fighter inspector position in Colorado Springs‚ Colorado in 1974. Later‚ he accepted the position of Fire Chief for F.E. Warren Air Force Base with the 90th Civil Engineering Squadron work hard until his death.
Charlie was a family man. He loved his sons‚ daughters and grandchildren Charlie was always willing to show off his hunting and fishing abilities. His life was cut short‚ but we thank God every day for the memories we have of him. He is loved and greatly missed by all.