Admiral Adair graduated from the Naval Academy in the class of 1926. Following assignments on board the Mississippi, Toucey, Blakeley, and Patoka, he studied communications at the Naval Postgraduate School. From 1935 to 1938 he served as radio officer on the staffs of Destroyer Squadrons Six and 14. After a staff assignment at the Naval Academy, he reported as flag lieutenant to Admiral Thomas Hart, Commander in Chief Asiatic Fleet, and was in that job when World War II broke out. He moved to Corregidor and then escaped to the Dutch East Indies as senior man on board the schooner Lanikai, sailing by night and hiding by day. From 1943 to 1945 he took part in the planning and execution of every major amphibious operation in the Southwest Pacific Area while serving on the staff of Rear Admiral Daniel Barbey, Commander Seventh Amphibious Force. After duty in OpNav and BuPers, he commanded attack cargo ship Marquette, served on the CinCPacFlt staff, and then in the office of the Comptroller of the Navy, William Franke. He retired in 1956.
RADM Adair had lived in Annapolis since 1974. He died of pneumonia on July 2, 1993 at the Anne Arundel Medical Center. He had Alzheimer's disease.
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Other Memories Escape to Australia, 1941â??1942 As a result of plans and actions of Lt. Comdr. Charles Adair, Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Hart, approval was obtained for Lanikai to attempt to escape to the Netherlands East Indies. On the evening of 26 December, carrying as passengers one Dutch and three American officers, Lanikai, with her Filipino crew, got underway from Mariveles harbor, Luzon, "destination unknown". Heading generally south, hiding in friendly coves during daylight, and traveling principally at night, the schooner sailed from island to island as Japanese forces spread across the East Indies with explosive speed. Storms covered her as she crossed the three large stretches of open water which lay between Luzon and Australia, and offered no coves for daylight concealment. When, as happened all too often, enemy aircraft approached the lightly armed schooner, they were preoccupied for the most part, with bigger game; but, at Surabaya, Java, on 3 February 1942, three Japanese bombs straddled the schooner so close aboard that Lanikai crewmen put off in a skiff to pick up a large quantity of stunned fish.
In late February, under full sail despite heavy seas, Lanikai headed due south from Tjilatjap, Java. This course was taken to avoid enemy forces which might be searching the direct route from Java to Darwin, Australia. On 1 March, while about 200 miles east of Christmas Island, a large Japanese task force was sighted on the port bow. Evasive action by Lanikai was successful. On 18 March, 82 days after departing Mariveles, the schooner arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia.