Charles Mooney Served His Country In Many Ways

Charles Mooney Served His Country In Many Ways

Born and raised in Washington, D.C playing football with his childhood friends at a local college field, where they had no shoulder pads, so they would just throw on like four or five shirts and sweatshirts, and then go to it. He also took some Taekwondo classes at the Boys and Girls Club.

Charles dropped out of high school, and around eighteen years old had a baby girl, then deciding to go and work to honor his responsibility. He would always be training in his basement with the boxing gloves, and some home made weights de devised from a metal pipe, and some bricks on the side.

I was curious about why he entered into the Army, and he told me that he was a team concept kind of cat, and liked the uniform, and camaraderie he’d seen and heard of, so with some friends, a bunch of them joking and jiving that he couldn’t pass the exam, stopped by the recruitment office and passed the entrance exam with flying colors. He came back later in the week, and passed the physical, and was asked when he wanted to go. His response was “On the next thing smoking”

When he entered the Army, boxing became his life, and he became a three-time All Army champion, three-time inter-service champion, won a silver medal in the Pan Am trials and took bronze and silver medals at the AAU nationals. By becoming the inter-service champion, that was his qualification to the Olympic Trials, where he would go on to become the Bantamweight representative at the Olympics in Montreal 1976.

Charles had a tremendous Olympics, winning the Silver Medal, with his only loss coming to Gu-Yong Ju of North Korea in the final, and when he got home a few things happened where he had decided that he no longer wanted to fight at 119, as it was just too much stress on his 5’8” frame to maintain. He told me jokingly that he now goes comfortably about 170 after a good meal.

He decided to not turn professional instead accepting a positon back in the US Army, and retired with 22 years active service, ending August 29, 1992, with the rank of Sergeant First Class.

Without the Miracle On Ice ever happening from USA Hockey, this would be your most famous Olympic Team, as they won Seven medals that Olympics (5 Gold, I Silver, I Bronze)

Charles told me that the glue that held that ’76 team together was Coach Tom”Sarge” Johnson, who was very motivating, and a kind of preacher type guy.

In 1984 Coaches Kenny Adams and Emanuel Steward, were with the US Olympic squad, and had brought Charles in as well to round out the training squad, and it would turn out to be quite beneficial, as he was still young enough to be one of the guys, but also a man who had acquired his skills of training other fighters as well. He would work with Mark Breland, Meldrick Taylor, and Sweet Pea Whitaker, members of the team who would go on to win a Gold Medal, amongst the many that were won on that successful Olympic Boxing squad.

A sense of annoyance in Charles’s voice came when we discussed the nature of a corner man. He told me, without mentioning anyone’s name that in todays fight game, there are far too many cheerleaders in the corner, rather than proper coaches. It should be about small instructions and and adjustments, praising what is going well, and pointing out what needs to be done in the next round. We laughed a litt;e bit, in the fact that it looks like joystick coaching, and the coach should stay home and do play station then instead.

A sense of pride was in giving back to the sport he loves, when he frequented a juvenile detention center in Laurel, MD. Charles never forgets his roots, and that it took the help of others to accomplish things. He gave those kids a vision to strive for, and brought along former Middleweight Champion William Joppy, who himslef had gone from incarceration all the way to the Olympic Trials to aid in the clinics and demonstrations. These misguided kids needed to hear a message about a new avenue they could take in their lives, instead of always hearing how they were no good, and wouldn’t amount to anything. Charles knew what he was getting into, but told me he was devastated to see that some or most of these thirteen and fourteen year old kids had major scars on their chests, where the incisions had been made to remove stray bullets. It was one of the first times that they had been given guidance, opportunity, and structure, which is something all kids need, right?

Charles ends his chapter with some quotes that have touched him over the years.

  • “Step through your fears and into your greatness”
  • “Preparation + Opportunity = Success”

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