He was born in Chicago, grew up in Ohio, joined the Marine Corps out of high school. His life has been about collaboration, cooperation, and innovation. This web page is about what he helped to start.
- Charles served in Vietnam as a corporal and volunteered working with Vietnamese children during his free time.
- During his final year in the Marine Corps at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, he joined the Station's speakers bureau to tell about his experiences on his own time as a volunteer.
- 1970 he graduated from the University of Hawaii in human development.
- 1974 he joined the faculty of Purdue University's historic department of child development and family studies after earning two graduate degrees from Penn State (1971 Masters of Science and 1974 PhD). The renowned journal of Child Development was first published in the department.
- 1977 he established the Family Research Institute to study military families, celebrity families, and the families of the US hostages finally freed in 1980 after 444 days of captivity.
- 1978 he published Stress Disorders among Vietnam Veterans (Brunner/Mazel) that contributed to the invention of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- 1985 he co-founded the Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) as its first President and donated the Journal of Traumatic Stress to the Society as its Founding Editor.
- 1994 he established the free online journal Traumatology that is currently part of the American Psychological Associations journals.
- 1995 he helped established the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology as its first President, established the certification program in trauma, and coordinated its first deployments in Florida and later in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York.
- 1997 he helped established the Traumatology Institute at Florida State University to support the mission of the Green Cross, generate new knowledge, and served as the editorial office to the journal Traumatology and the Book Series (Routledge) on Psychosocial Stress.
- 1999 he helped to establish the Green Cross Standards of Care and Standards of Self Care
- 2001 he was part of the Green Cross response to New York City after 9-11 and helped establish the New York chapter of the Green Cross.
- 2005 part of Green Cross who assisted relief workers responding to Hurricane Katrina.
- 2006 first Traumatology Institute symposium on combat stress injury
- 2008 Moved to New Orleans and joined the Tulane University faculty and the Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health
- 2009 the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy was founded at Tulane through a large federal grant
- 2010 the City, Culture, and Community PhD Program was established through a grant from Tulane University
- 2011 the Disaster Resilience Leadership Master of Science Program was established
- 2012 named Associate Dean of the Tulane University School of Social Work
- 2014 awarded an honorary degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice