Ambassador Charles W Hostler, Ph.D.
Charles W. Hostler, passed away due to cardiac arrest on 9/28/14 at the age of 94. A true hero, a seemingly tireless adventurer and always a gentleman, Charles touched many people’s lives and left a remarkable legacy.
Charles Hostler’s life involved being a soldier, scholar, businessman, diplomat, humanitarian and philanthropist. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in January 1942 (one month after the Pearl Harbor attack) and entered the Army Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant. His fluency in French and military intelligence training led to his assignment to the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the CIA) X-2 section for Allied counter-espionage/deception operations during the invasion of France in WWII.
His special Counter-espionage unit landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944 at Utah Beach in Normandy, France. During and after WWII, Charles continued carrying out many clandestine missions for the OSS and CIA. On June 6, 2004, during the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, French President Jacques Chirac personally presented him with the French Legion of Honor in the presence of 17 Heads of State in Normandy. Charles received decorations from 9 countries and from 4 religious leaders for his valiant actions.
Following his retirement as a Colonel in the Air Force, Charles continued to hold many distinguished positions. He was appointed by three California Governors as a Commissioner for various public service positions. Charles was also appointed by Presidents Nixon and Ford as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Commerce. And lastly in 1989, Charles was appointed by President Bush, Sr. as the U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain (1989-1993) during the Persian Gulf War.
Charles earned a master’s and doctorate degrees in Political Science from Georgetown University, and a MA in Middle Eastern Studies from American University of Beirut. He also received three honorary doctorate degrees and was the author of three books. His memoir, “Soldier to Ambassador”, was published by San Diego State University Press in 2003.
Charles grew up during the Great Depression era, began working at the age of 13 and never stopped. In 2007, his long-time dream came true when he inaugurated a 5-building Hostler Student Center at the American University of Beirut. He also endowed the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 2004, plus providing a Fellowship program and supporting their Veterans Center. In addition, The Charles Hostler Hall at SDSU was dedicated on February 21, 2014. Charles and Chinyeh endowed the Global Youth Forum Scholarship Fund for People to People International organization which was founded by President Eisenhower in 1956 to enhance peace through understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities.
Ambassador Hostler had been the Honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the USA since 1993. He was buried with full military honor next to his father (a WWI Army Officer) at the Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. He is survived by his wife, Chinyeh and 2 step-sons.