Charlotte Clinger was born in Asheboro, North Carolina. She graduated from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1965 with a degree in history. Her love of history motivated Charlotte to support the oral history project of the Women Veterans Historical Project. She recognizes the importance of capturing first-hand accounts to document history.
Charlotte joined the U. S. Air Force in 1967. She attended Officer Training School and was then sent to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado for intelligence training. It was there that she met her future husband, Noel Clinger. Charlotte was the first woman ever stationed with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. She did intelligence briefings and debriefings during her one-year tour of duty at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. In 1973, she was deployed, to Takhli Air Force Base in Thailand, with the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing. After marrying Noel she transferred back to Lowry AFB, where they both taught in the intelligence school. In 1975, Charlotte moved from active duty to reserve duty, joining a reserve unit of the Air Force Intelligence Service while working on her master’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado. In the late 1970s, the Clingers joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and moved to Fairfax, VA. Charlotte became the first woman to command the Joint Military Reserve Training Command unit, which she did from 1991-1994. She retired from the Reserve as a full colonel in 1994, and from the CIA in 2001. Her 2006 oral history interview with the Betty Carter Women Veterans Historical Project may be found here.
Noel Clinger graduated from Kent State University in 1967 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. His first assignment was to Lowery Air Force Base to attend the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Center (AFAITC). Upon completion of AFAITC, he was assigned to the Twelfth Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Rahn Bay, Sout