Charlie Varner is currently President of the MVPA (Military Vehicle Preservation Association) after serving on the Board of Directors for many years. The association has over 10,000 members worldwide.
He began collecting in 1985 when he bought a WWII AAF Crusher Cap. From that sprung a passion for WWII memorabilia and history.
He currently owns a 1942 WWII WC-54 3/4 ton Dodge Ambulance and a 1942 WWII WC-57 3/4 ton Dodge command car, a 1942 Ford GPW Jeep, a 1944 GMC CCKW 2 1/2 ton truck, and 1945 GMC 2 1/2 ton Airborne GMC CCKW (this truck was designed to be unbolted and flown in two C-47 aircraft), and a 1942 Buick Roadmaster. The roadmaster was used as a staff car for senior officers.
While Charlie's primary interest is WWII vehicles he has always been interested in WWII Aviation. His father was in Naval Aviation during WWII and his uncle Bob flew Navy Corsairs. He has been collecting WWII USAAF items for many years.
In 1994, for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, American Airlines flew Charlie's jeep to Europe. The jeep was consequently named "Norma D". Since then Charles has returned many times to participate in WWII commemorative events there. On one trip he and his group of WWII GI re-enactors visited the Lavenham, England air base if the 487th Bomb Group just as the veteran's were visiting for their 50th reunion. When the veteran's standing in the control tower looked out into the mist, there emerged a WWII Dodge Weapons Carrier full of GI's! They were sure they were seeing ghosts of the squadron. Soon they were all invited by the vets to visit the famous Swan Inn, where the veterans drank draughts during the war. It is unchanged to this day. In fact, the aviators names can still be seen scrawled into the wall next to the bar where they have been preserved.
Charles also had the privilege of designing a coffee mug for Captain Bob Morgan of the famous "Memphis Belle". He wanted it to sell at the various shows that he attended to sign autographs. Over dinner Charles asked him if his family really was in the furniture business. He affirmed that they were.
During the year Charles will attend several airshows and will often display his AAF memorabilia along with his vehicles.