Charles is a disabled veteran and is accredited by VA as a veterans’ claims agent. He served in the 1991 Gulf War as an Abrams tank crewman, and in 1995 was co-founder and first executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center in Washington, DC. In that role he testified before Congressional Committees and the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, and co-authored the first ever Self-Help Guide for Gulf War Veterans published by the National Veterans Legal Service Project.
In 2003 Charles co-founded Veterans for Common Sense. VCS was instrumental in bringing to a national light the crisis of veterans’ suicides, with a lawsuit filed against VA that we fought all the way to the Supreme Court. In response, VA established the Veterans Crisis Line and other programs to assist veterans in need. During VCS’s merger with Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation from 2006 to 2008, Charles helped produce the American Veterans’ and Servicemembers’ Survival Guide.
Charles continues to serve on the board of directors of VCS and is a member of the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates.