Charles Kettles Vietnam War Hero and Medal of Honor Recipient Dies [Video]


KettlesThe Michigan Heroes Museum, The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, and other military organizations are reporting that Vietnam war hero and Army Pilot Lt. Col. Charles Kettles died January 21, 2019, at his home in Michigan. He was 89 years old.

On May 15, 1967, U.S. troops were ambushed by the Army from North Vietnam. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the men who would go into rescue the soldiers. When he faced gunfire, he refused to leave.

Kettle’s airplane was significantly damaged, fuel was leaking, and his gunner was critically injured during the rescue.

Despite the life-threatening situation, Kettle used a helicopter four more times to go into the battlefield and saved 44 soldiers lives.  His story would become an example of the bravery soldiers exhibited during the Vietnam War.

Kettles was born on Jan. 9, 1930 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In 1956 he left the army and started with his brother a car dealership. He returned to the army in 1963 to help serve in the Vietnam War. Kettles served two tours of duty in Vietnam and retired from the Army in 1978  as a Lt. Colonel.

The Detroit News reported that the Veterans History Project began a campaign to raise Kettles’ Distinguished Service Cross which he was awarded for his service in Vietnam to a Medal of Honor. Congress agreed that he was deserving of the honor and waved the mandatory time limit for a  service person to be considered for the Medal of Honor.

Kettles received the Medal of Honor from President Obama on July 18, 2016.

When presenting the medal, Obama said all Americans could be proud of Kettles’ actions. He added people need to remember the decency and goodness that Americans have and how during difficult times, people look out for each other. Kettles was an inspiration, and it was an honor to be able to celebrate his accomplishments.

Kettles also received from EMU an honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree, where he initially earned his degree. In 2015 EMU also named its Military and Veterans Service Center in his honor.

Written By Barbara Sobel

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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of  The US Army’s Flikr Page – Creative Commons License

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