Rear Adm. Charles O. Prindle, 54, a staff officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and a pilot who served in Vietnam in 1970, died of respiratory failure Feb. 26 at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He had cancer.

Adm. Prindle, who lived in Annandale, had served in Washington since 1980. At the time of his death, he was director of the general planning and programming division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

He was a native of Nyack, N.Y. He began his active Navy service after graduating from the Univeristy of Mississippi in 1953. He also was a graduate of the National War College and earned a master's degree in management at the Naval Postgraduate School.

After receiving his wings at Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1954, the future admiral held a variety of flying and staff posts. In addition to serving as commander of a patrol squadron in Southeast Asia in 1970, he had been stationed in Iceland, Argentina and Canada. During the 1970s, his assignments included a tour as a member of the personal staff of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. George S. Brown. From 1977 to 1980, he was commander of the patrol wings of the Pacific Fleet.

Adm. Prindle's decorations included two Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal.

Survivors include his wife, Leota Jane, of Annandale; two sons, lieutenants Brian and Kevin Prindle, both Navy pilots stationed at Jacksonville, Fla.; three daughters, Cheryl South of Arlington, and Sharon Bolen and Debbie Hall, both of Burke, Va.; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Prindle of Lakehurst, N.J.; two brothers, Bob, of New York, and Dennis, of Delaware, Ohio, and eight grandchildren.