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Old 22 June 2016, 07:09
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Vietnam Helicopter Pilot to Receive Medal of Honor

3 men and 600lbs overweight? Hell, his balls probably made the bird overweight before he started picking people up.


https://www.army.mil/article/170084

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WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 20, 2016) -- President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to a daring helicopter pilot who displayed extraordinary heroism during the Vietnam War, the White House announced today.

Retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles is credited with saving some 44 lives in one day, May 15, 1967, while serving as a helicopter commander in the 176th Aviation Company, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division in the vicinity of Duc Pho, in Vietnam's central highlands.

Early that morning, his platoon had dropped about 80 Soldiers in a river valley, but the troops were ambushed and surrounded very quickly. Kettles and his fellow pilots made several trips back and forth, bringing reinforcements and evacuating the wounded, but by afternoon, it was clear that the situation was hopeless. Only 44 troops remained, facing what Kettles estimates was a battalion-sized force.

Although the company's helicopters were so shot up that they had to call in reinforcements from another unit for the extraction, they managed to get the Soldiers aboard and take off under heavy fire.

Then, when they were airborne, Kettles learned eight men had been left behind on the ground.

With one of the rescued Soldiers on board in addition to his crew of four, Kettles immediately turned his unarmed Huey around and headed back to the landing zone. He had surprise on his side, but fire from the ground -- mostly small arms and mortars -- was withering and ripped the windshield apart.

The eight Soldiers dove into the helicopter, but there was another problem: it was now about three men or 600 pounds too heavy.

"I didn't know if we were going to get out of there," Kettles remembered, but I was just going to give it my best try."

After his copilot couldn't manage the takeoff, Kettles took over, repeatedly adjusting the revolutions per minute until they finally lurched back to Duc Pho.

That's the bottom line, said Kettles: those Soldiers went home to their families. Their names aren't carved in stone on a wall in D.C. No medal can compare with that.

"The rest of it is rather immaterial, frankly," he said, quick to give credit to the other 73 pilots and crewmembers who flew missions that day.


The Medal of Honor is an upgrade for Kettles, who will be honored in a White House ceremony scheduled for July 14. He initially received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest award for valor, for his actions.

He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism the day before, May 14, 1967 and earned 27 air medals while flying more than 600 missions during two tours in Vietnam.

Kettles currently resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with his wife Ann.
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Old 22 June 2016, 07:13
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He must have his pants custom made...
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Old 22 June 2016, 07:25
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Balls to the wall and down the hallway! Respect Sir.
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Old 22 June 2016, 07:40
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This is because men - real men - give it their all in spite of the cucked telling them they shouldn't.

Bravo fucking Zulu, sir.
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Old 22 June 2016, 08:02
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And most likely a man that most people would walk right by and not know anything about. It's always the quiet ones.
Outstanding sir!
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Old 22 June 2016, 08:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KS11 View Post
The Medal of Honor is an upgrade for Kettles, who will be honored in a White House ceremony scheduled for July 14. He initially received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest award for valor, for his actions.
Off topic; when upgraded as the article states, does the individual retain the initial award?
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Old 22 June 2016, 08:09
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Congratulations, Sir! Outstanding work!
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Old 22 June 2016, 08:13
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Off topic; when upgraded as the article states, does the individual retain the initial award?
Yes, he was awarded the DSC. Nothing changes that. I've gotten 2 awards for the same action.
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Old 22 June 2016, 08:19
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Originally Posted by billdawg24 View Post
And most likely a man that most people would walk right by and not know anything about. It's always the quiet ones.
Outstanding sir!
Excellent point. When I was at Polk(95-98), there was rumor that there was a MOH recipient bagging groceries at the commissary. The rumor also went on to say he is there because he wanted to be there, not because he had to be there. I never did learn his name and I am not sure if if the rumor true or not.

Glad this hero is getting the recognition he deserves.
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Old 22 June 2016, 08:53
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Congratulations.

Many pilots pushed their aircraft past the supposed limits. Warning buzzers were only there to freak out the passengers.
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Old 22 June 2016, 09:33
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Originally Posted by 10thvet View Post
Excellent point. When I was at Polk(95-98), there was rumor that there was a MOH recipient bagging groceries at the commissary. The rumor also went on to say he is there because he wanted to be there, not because he had to be there. I never did learn his name and I am not sure if if the rumor true or not.

Glad this hero is getting the recognition he deserves.
There was a MOH recipient at the Navy shipyard in Charleston a while back (early/mid-90s). Janitor if I recall.

Congrats, Sir. Respect.
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Old 22 June 2016, 12:06
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Originally Posted by Devildoc View Post
There was a MOH recipient at the Navy shipyard in Charleston a while back (early/mid-90s). Janitor if I recall.

Congrats, Sir. Respect.
Your story reminded of that of William J. Crawford:


http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/profiles_crawford_10lessons.html

Different story it seems, but a similar situation.

Thank you for your service Lt. Col. Kettles.
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Old 22 June 2016, 13:12
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Outstanding an example to all.
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Old 22 June 2016, 13:37
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Humbling to read things like that.
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Old 22 June 2016, 14:20
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Congrats Sir. Well deserved. Thanks for your service.
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  #16  
Old 22 June 2016, 14:23
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What a great story! Long overdue, it seems.
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Old 22 June 2016, 16:03
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That wheel barrow he used to wheel around his nuts, had to add extra weight to the already overloaded bird. Well deserved, and congratulations Lt. Col. Charles Kettles.
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Old 23 June 2016, 03:18
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Lt Col Kettles Viet Nam pilot

Lt Col Charles Kettles will receive the MOH for his actions during a battle in Duc Pho. Kettles had already received the Distinguished Service Cross for this same battle, but Michigan Rep Debbie Dingel has lobbied to have his award upgraded to the MOH.

Descriptions of the battle and Lt Col Kettles' actions are provided on the Stars and Stripes web site and the Army's MOH section of the website.

After reading the description of events, I say this is an award long overdue.

Hand Salute, Lt Col Kettles.
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Old 23 June 2016, 08:00
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Awesome, well overdue !
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  #20  
Old 23 June 2016, 09:34
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Nothing but respect, Sir.
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