Capt. Charles W. O’Reilly USN(Ret.) ’53
Captain Charles W. “Chuck” O’Reilly died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on October 22, 2022. He was born on August 30, 1932, at Portland, ME, the son of John V. and Ivy O’Reilly. He spent his boyhood years growing up on Cushing’s and Cliff Islands, graduating from South Portland High School in 1950. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1949, graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1953, and accepted a commission in the Naval Reserve. Called to active duty during the Korean War, he received his regular commission in 1957, promotion to Captain in 1974.
His initial sea tour was aboard USS Iowa (BB-61). He then spent a short shore tour at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard followed by the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, CA. In July 1959, Captain O’Reilly reported to USS Pocono (AGC-16) and served as Operations Officer and Navigator. In August 1961 he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. He next reported to USS Independence (CV-62) in August 1963. He served as Damage Control, Repair and Engineering Officer until October 1965, when he reported to USS Marias (AO-57) as Executive Officer. Following this tour of duty in August 1967 he was assigned to the staff of Commander Service Force, Pacific as Force Operations Officer until he attended the Armed Forces Staff College in August 1969. Captain O’Reilly became Executive Officer of USS Josephus Daniels (DLG-27) in February 1970 and from March 1971 to July 1972 he commanded USS William M. Wood (DD-715) where he was decorated for his role in Soviet Navy surveillance operations in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. He then attended The Industrial College of the Armed Forces before reporting to the staff of Commander Carrier Group Four as Surface Operations Officer. In July 1975 he reported to the staff of Commander Surface Forces Atlantic where he was assigned as Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel and Administration. Captain O’Reilly then attended the Senior Officers Ship Material Readiness Course at Naval Reactors Facilities, Idaho Falls, ID, from March to August 1977 when he assumed command of Service Squadron Three in Vallejo, CA. In June 1979 he took command as Commander Service Group One in Oakland, CA until relieved in March 1982. He then assumed command as Commander Naval Surface Group Mediterranean in Naples, Italy until relieved in July 1983. Captain O’Reilly then assumed the duties as Commander Service Group Two in August 1983, a position he held until his retirement with 32 years of service in August 1984. At the time of his retirement, he was considered to be the Navy’s leading authority in the areas of Mobile Logistics and Underway Replenishment.
Captain O’Reilly’s personal decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with Gold Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, The Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and three Gold Stars and numerous unit, campaign and service medals.
Following his retirement, he worked as a consultant to shipbuilders and marine equipment manufacturers serving as Vice President with IMECO Services Inc., an engineering consulting firm located in Iron Mountain, MI.
After traveling the world, he returned home to Maine for his retirement years. Captain O’Reilly was never happier than when cruising Casco Bay and the Islands that were his birthright. His life was the sea and best friends were his old shipmates with whom he kept in constant touch. He also greatly enjoyed volunteering at the Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau, sharing his vast knowledge with visitors. He was a member of the Portland Marine Society, Navy League, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and American Legion.
Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife of 68 years, Norma (McGlinn) of Presque Isle, ME; a son, John (Donna) of Virginia Beach, VA; three daughters, Colleen O’Reilly of So. Portland, ME, Patricia O’Reilly-Zandes (Tim) of Stony Brook, NY, and Erin O’Reilly of Bolinas, CA; six grandchildren; his brother John R. O’Reilly (Maureen); and sister Patricia Clifford. He was predeceased by a son, Michael.
A memorial service and interment will be held at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta with full military honors on May 12, 2023.
Those who wish may make contributions in Charles’ memory to Scholarships at Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME (mainemaritime.edu/giving).