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Charlie Plumb

Captain Charlie Plumb, CSP, CPAE

In an upbeat, powerful presentation, this Navy fighter pilot demonstrates how lessons he learned in a prisoner of war camp can be applied to our professional and personal challenges.

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Price range

  • $17,500 - $20,000
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  • Accountability
  • Adversity
  • Attitude
  • Change
  • Hero
  • Inspirational
  • Motivation
  • Resilience
  • Stress
  • Teamwork/Teambuilding
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  • Associations
  • Military
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  • 49 Years
  • About

    Captain Charlie Plumb has lived what he believes to be the American Dream. As a farm kid from Kansas, he fantasized about airplanes, although he felt certain he would never have the opportunity to pilot one. It would be the United States Navy who afforded Plumb the opportunity to live out that dream.

    After graduating from the Naval Academy, Plumb completed Navy Flight Training and reported to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego where he flew the first adversarial flights in the development of what would be called The Navy Fighter Weapons School, currently known as “TOP GUN.” The next year, Plumb’s squadron the Aardvarks launched on the Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk with Fighter Squadron 114 to fly the Navy’s hottest airplane, the F-4 Phantom Jet. Codenamed “Plumber,” Charlie Plumb flew 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam and made over 100 carrier landings.

    On his 75th mission, just five days before the end of his tour, Plumb was shot down over Hanoi, taken prisoner, tortured, and spent the next 2,103 days as a Prisoner Of War in an 8-by-8 foot cell. During his nearly six years of captivity, Plumb distinguished himself as a pro in underground communications. He was a great inspiration to all the other POWs and served as chaplain for two years.

    Following his repatriation, Plumb continued his Navy flying career in Reserve Squadrons where he flew A-4 Sky Hawks, A-7 Corsairs, and FA-18 Hornets. His last two commands as a Naval Reservist were on the Aircraft Carrier Corral Sea and at a Fighter Air Wing in California. He retired from the United States Navy after 28 years of service.

    Since his return home, Plumb has captivated more than 5,000 audiences in almost every industry around the world with stories that parallel his POW experience with the challenges of everyday life.

    To this day, Captain Plumb continues to fly left seat at every opportunity. He has personally owned eight airplanes, the most treasured being a World War II PT-19 Open-Cockpit Antique. He currently owns a Rutan-designed experimental single-engine Long-Eze.

  • Videos
  • Program

    Keynote | Inspirational

    In a daily routine, or in a communist prison camp, each of us has the choice to succeed, to fail…or to become the victim of circumstances.

    Keynote | Educational | Inspirational

    Viewed as opportunity and challenge, adversity encourages growth, and propels us beyond self-imposed limits.

    Keynote | Educational | Inspirational

    In a world where downsizing forces us to do more with less, we must empower the team. “Packing parachutes” can mean the difference in survival. Yours and your teams!


    Invariably, just about the time things feel comfortable, change hits. And whether that change is positive or negative it can be disturbing and difficult to adjust to. Yet, it’s during those times that one’s true value shows up, in taking the risks necessary to adapt to change.


    Each of us has assets we often times don’t tap into until we’re challenged. Whether or not we realize it, we each have the inner strength and resources to meet whatever business or personal challenges come our way.

  • Review
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    “Hearing Charlie speak about adversity being a terrible thing… to WASTE, and the position of ‘parachute packer’ taking many forms, has changed my current ‘imprisoned’ thoughts into feelings of inspiration. I want to thank him for motivating me to move forward, kick down the mental prison walls, and start packing parachutes.”

    Medtronic David R.
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    “My whole life was changed by Captain Plumb’s inspiring talk about choices and attitudes! I came to our meeting ranked 37th in my area; within the year, I was the “2nd Top Performer” in my company.”

    Bank of Montreal Barb W.
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    “You skillfully weaved the challenges our company faces into your personal experience and, in doing so, bolstered our resolve to do what it takes to improve, to grow, and to prosper. Please accept my deepest appreciation for your significant contribution to our meeting, and more importantly, to our future.”

    Clark & Reid Kevin R.
My whole life was changed by Captain Plumb’s inspiring talk about choices and attitudes! I came to our meeting ranked 37th in my area; within the year, I was the “2nd Top Performer” in my company.
Bank of Montreal Barb W.

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