May 14, 2004
Col. Charles W. Hostler, Former Ambassador to Bahrain to be a Featured Speaker for Values of Leadership: A Tribute to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Charles W. Hostler, former Air Force Colonel and United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, will be one of the featured speakers at a May 28 program in Washington D.C. titled Values of Leadership: A Tribute to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He will speak on behalf of the United Statesí combat veterans of World War II.
Members of the Eisenhower Foundation, representatives from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum and the Eisenhower Institute in Washington D.C., will join Eisenhower family members to host the program at the Omni Shoreham Hotel to honor the General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The function is among the first official events of "America Celebrates the Greatest Generation," a 100-day tribute to the heroism, culture and heritage of the World War II generation. At the heart of this celebration in Washington, DC and the Capital Region is the long-awaited dedication of the National World War II Memorial.
Hostler, who had helped support his formerly affluent family through the depression by delivering papers, originally joined the Army as a "way to make money." He joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps during college, graduating just days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
He was immediately recruited into the U.S. Air Force. His college degree and background in French moved him into the intelligence unit, then called the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and today the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA.)
At the age of 22, Hostler was part of the X2 unit, a counter-intelligence operation of the OSS. His unit landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on the evening of June 6. The unitís mission was to locate French civilians who were conspiring with the Germans. He received combat injuries in France when he was struck in the head by the butt of a French butcherís ax.
For his work in Normandy, Hostler was given a Purple Heart and a Commemorative Medal. Following the end of the mission, he requested to be placed in Romania as head of the OSS unit there. Shortly after taking charge of the mission, he witnessed the Romanian governmentís spontaneous decision to join the allied forces after having backed the Germans throughout the war. The OSS worked with Romanian patriots against communism in the Russian-controlled area.
Through the mission, Hostler began smuggling "democratic sympathizers" out of the country in bags of mail. The mail deliverymen were anesthetized and placed in the US mail sacks for shipment to Vienna. Five people were taken out of the country each week, and over the course of the operation, 50 Romanians were shipped to Vienna.
Hostler continued his education while in the Air Force, concentrating in Middle Eastern studies and International Affairs. After retirement from the Air Force in 1963, he entered private business in Lebanon. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Hostler ambassador to Bahrain.
The San Diego, California resident currently works as an international consultant and as the president of his own investment company. He has served as the Chairman of People-to-People, a travel program established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote a cultural exchange, which he believed to be the only way to achieve peace in the world.
While in Washington D. C. for the dedication of the National World War II Memorial, Hostler will also serve as one of the Grand Marshals of the annual Labor Day Parade and participate in a 62nd reunion of the OSS.
On June 3 he will travel to France with a group of 100 U.S. D-Day veterans at the invitation of the French government to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day. All members of the group, with the exception of Hostler, will be decorated with the French Legion of Honor at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris on the 5th of June.
On June 6, Hostler, along with one representative of each Allied nationís armed services, will be taken to Normandy, where French President Jacques Chirac, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth of England, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and U.S. President George W. Bush, will decorate the select group with the French Legion of Honor.
The Values of Leadership: a salute to General Dwight D. Eisenhower is free and open to the public, but requires a ticket for seating due to limited space. To request tickets call 1-877-RING IKE.