Find a Member:

1964 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Charles B. Thornton*

Founder and Chairman of the Board
Litton Industries

"Pay attention to your innate, creative talents."

Charles "Tex" Thornton was born in 1913 in Haskell, Texas. He began to buy land with money he earned from odd jobs in and around his home town and by age 14, had accumulated nearly 40 acres. At age 19, he and a friend operated a successful filling station and car dealership that he left to attend Texas Technical College. After two years, he took a job in Washington, D.C., while continuing his college career at night. He joined the Army as a second lieutenant shortly before the outbreak of World War II, and went on to become one of the youngest full colonels in the Army. After V-J Day, he and a number of other officers he trained became the famed "Whiz Kids" at Ford Motor Company. In 1948, Thornton joined Hughes Aircraft as vice president and assistant general manager. He formed Litton Industries in 1953, which started as an electronics company and became a large defense contractor.

* Deceased