Charles Linnell Austin was born in Moorestown, New Jersey, on October 28, 1891, son of James Henry and Emma Bynner (Linnell) Austin. He attended Germantown Academy at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for ten years prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from the State of Pennsylvania in 1909. He participated in athletics as a member of the Hustlers football team, and baseball and boxing teams throughout his four years at the Academy. After graduation on June 6, 1913, he resigned from the Navy (being color blind), and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps, U.S. Army. In February 1915 he transferred to the Navy as an Assistant Paymaster in the Supply Corps with the rank of Ensign, and subsequently progressed in grade to that of Rear Admiral, to date from July 1, 1945. On June 1, 1953 he was transferred to the Retired List of the U.S. Navy.
In February 1915, after his transfer from the Army to the Navy, he had brief instruction at the Naval Pay Officers’ School, Washington, D.C., and in May of that year was assigned to the USS Sacramento, a gunboat of Cruiser Squadron, Fourth Division, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Aboard that vessel, he participated in the Mexican, Haitian, and Dominican campaigns in 1915-16, being a member of the landing party of Maries at Puerto Rico Plata, Santo Domingo, in June 1916.
During World War I, he served for four months as Assistant to the Officer in Charge, Naval Pay Officers School, and from December 1917 with the U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters first Queenstown, Ireland, and later with the Minesweeping Force. Returning to the United States in December 1919, he was ordered to duty as Supply Officer of Submarine Division 5, operating from the Submarine Base, Hampton Roads, Virginia, and served in that capacity until September 1921, when he transferred to duty at the Naval Supply Station, naval Operating Base, at Hampton Roads.
In the years prior to World War II, he had the usual assignments of a Supply Corps Officer of the Navy, both ashore afloat, including tours of duty in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., at the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island, the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, the Fleet Air Base, Pearl Harbor, T.H., and aboard the USS Whitney, USS Arkansas, and on the USS Memphis, flagship of Commander Aircraft, Scouting Force, while serving as Supply Officer. In the summer of 1939 he returned to the Naval Academy where, for two years he was in charge of the Midshipman’s Store.
In May 1941 he reported to the American Embassy, London, England, for duty as Assistant Naval Attaché, later Special U.S. Naval Observer, and in May 1942 was transferred to duty as Supply Officer on the staff of Commander, Naval Forces, Europe. He was later assigned additional duty with the Joint General Purchasing Board, Naval Forces in Europe, he returned to the United States in February 1944, and served as Supply Officer of the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, from April of that year until May 1945. From June to October 1945 he had duty as Supply Officer on the staff of Commander Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet.
Again returning to the United States, he reported on December 5, 1945, as Supply Officer of the Naval Academy, Annapolis, and served in that capacity for a year. On January 16, 1947 he assumed duty as Supply Officer in Command, Naval Supply Corps School, Bayonne, new Jersey, his title changed on December 14, 1949 to Commanding Officer, Naval Supply Corps School. He continued to serve in that capacity until relieved of all active duty pending his retirement, effective June 1, 1953.
Rear Admiral has the Mexican Service Medal; Haitian Campaign Medal; Dominican Campaign Medal; the World War I Victory Medal, Overseas Clasp; the American Defense Service Medal, Base Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the European-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.