Elmer Rago, known widely as Charley, left home when he was 16 to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). While in the CCC he fought in the diamond gloves in the Paterson arena and won 20 out of 20 bouts. Elmer spent two years in the CCC and got out on a Monday. He was in the Merchant Marine on Wednesday of the same week. Elmer sailed on tankers, cargo ships and passenger ships. While he was on one of the ships he was hit by a 45 pound steel pin that holds the boom in place. He was in the hospital in England and the states. Elmer then went to the Coast Guard Academy, planning to sail in the Merchant Marine again. He became aware that war was imminent and joined the Navy. Due to his sailing experience he was not required to go to boot camp and was assigned to a three master used to train Midshipmen. He was assigned to New London, Ct for awhile and then went to the Armed Guard as an instructor. From there he went to P.T. Boats, a battle ship (Wyoming), a transport (West Point AP23). He was on a carrier (Franklin D. Roosevelt) for five years and then went to the fleet training group in Norfolk, Virginia. He helped train all countries on DD's Mine Sweeps, etc. Elmer helped in training the French, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Koreans. Elmer left the Navy and opened an electrical business in Long Island, New York. He joined the voluntary Nassau County Police and went up to Chief of that organization the last year of his 13 year stint with them. Charley moved to Florida and started a Voluntary Police Department there and has been in it for 18 years. He will be 85 years young when he has 20 years in that organization. Elmer made his first sky dive when he was 80 and is planning another when he reaches 85. He has zipped around the speedway at 175 miles per hour in the Richard Petty car. He also has a job with the Speedway and has been with them 12 years now. He and his wife were extras in the movie, "Days of Thunder" with Tom Cruise. In addition to being in crowd scenes he was in a pit crew and was in a Quaker State uniform. They were also in scenes in another wilder napalm and did a modeling job for the Laplaya. Charley sometimes caddies 18 holes and on occasion, more in the afternoons. He makes golf clubs and also refinishes older clubs. I was unable to get Charley to give me a date for his Bongo Jump, but from what I know of this tough old bird, don't rule it out.
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