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 Post subject: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescue
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:37 pm 
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Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helicopter Rescue

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President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Military.comJul 18, 2016 | by Matthew Cox

President Barack Obama awarded America's highest military honor for valor today to a U.S. Army veteran for risking his life to save the lives of 44 fellow American soldiers a half century ago on a Vietnamese battlefield.
During a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House, Obama told the story of retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, who was serving as a flight commander assigned to 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division, when a battalion-sized enemy force ambushed an outnumbered element of 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, near Duc Pho.
Kettles, then a major, led a platoon of UH-1D Huey helicopters again and again into intense enemy fire to help his fellow soldiers.
Now 86, Kettles sat looking "sharp as a tack," Obama said, describing his dress blue uniform.
Many of his fellow veterans have said that there is no one who deserves the Medal of Honor more than Kettles, Obama said.
"Many believe that, except for Chuck," Obama said. "As he says, 'This seems like a hell of a fuss over something happened 50 years ago.' Even now, Chuck is still defined by the humility that shaped him as a soldier."
But there are at least 44 former American soldiers who would disagree with Kettles' modest description of his actions on that battlefield.
Obama gave the following account of the Kettles' bravery:
"May 15, 1967, started as a hot Monday morning. Soldiers from the 101st Airborne were battling hundreds of North Vietnamese in a rural riverbed. Our men were outnumbered. They needed support fast -- helicopters to get the wounded out and get more soldiers into the fight.
"Chuck Kettles was a helo pilot and, just as he had volunteered for active duty, on this morning he volunteered his Hueys even though he knew the danger.
"They call this place 'chump valley' for a reason. Above the riverbed rose a 1,500-foot tall hill. And the enemy was dug into an extensive series of tunnels and bunkers -- the ideal spot for an ambush.
"Around 9 a.m., his company of Hueys approached that landing zone and looked down. They should have seen a stand of green trees. Instead, they saw a solid wall of green enemy tracers coming right at them. None of them had ever seen fire that intense.
"Soldiers in the helos were hit and killed before they could leap off. But under withering fire, Chuck landed his chopper and kept it there exposed so the wounded could get on and so that he could fly them back to base.
"A second time, Chuck went back into the valley. He dropped off more soldiers and supplies; picked up more wounded. Once more, machine gun bullets and mortar rounds came screaming after them. As he took off a second time, rounds pierced the arm and leg of Chuck's door gunner, Roland Scheck.
"Chuck's Huey was hit. Fuel was pouring out as he flew away. He landed, found another helicopter and flew Roland to the field hospital.
"By now, it was near evening. Back at the riverbed, 44 American soldiers were still pinned down. The air was thick with gunpowder and smelled of burning metal.
"And then they heard a faint sound. And as the sun started to set, they saw something rise over the horizon -- six American helicopters, as one of them said, 'as beautiful as could be.'
"For a third time, Chuck and his unit headed into that Hell on Earth.
"Once again, the enemy unloaded everything they had on Chuck as he landed -- small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades. Soldiers ran to the helicopters. When Chuck was told all were accounted for, he took off.
"And then mid-air, his radio told him something else. Eight men had not made it aboard. They had been providing cover for the others. Those eight soldiers ran for the choppers but could only watch as they floated away.
" 'We all figured we were done for,' they said. Chuck came to the same conclusion. 'If we left them for 10 minutes,' he said, 'they'd be POWs or dead.'
"A soldier who was there said, 'That day, Maj. Kettles became our John Wayne.'
"With all due respect to John Wayne," Obama said. "He couldn't do what Chuck Kettles did.
"He broke off from formation, took a steep, sharp, descending turn back toward the valley -- this time with no aerial or artillery support.
"Chuck's Huey was the only target for the enemy to attack, and they did. Tracers lit up the sky once more. Chuck came in so hot his chopper bounced for several hundred feet before coming to a stop.
"As soon as he landed, a mortar round shattered his windshield; another hit the main rotor blade. Shrapnel tore through the cockpit and Chuck's chair.
"Those eight soldiers sprinted toward the Huey, running through the firestorm, chased by bullets.
"Chuck's helo, now badly damaged, was carrying 13 souls and was 600 pounds overweight. 'It felt,' he said, 'like flying a two and a half ton truck.'
"He couldn't hover long enough to take off. … The cabin filled with black smoke as Chuck skipped and hopped the helo across the ground to pick up enough speed to take off.
"The instant he got airborne, another mortar ripped into the tail. The Huey fishtailed violently and a soldier was thrown out of the helicopter and was hanging onto a skid as Chuck flew them to safety."
Obama joked, "You couldn't make this up. This is like a bad Rambo movie."
The Army's warrior ethos is based on a simple principle -- a soldier never leaves his comrades behind, Obama said.
"Chuck Kettles honored that creed. Not with a single act of heroism, but over and over and over," Obama said. "And because of that heroism, 44 American soldiers made it out that night. We are honored today to be joined by some of them."
Obama asked them to stand so they could be honored with applause.
Kettles was originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award for valor, for his heroism that day, Obama said.
But William Villano, an amateur historian, realized that was not enough of an honor after he interviewed Kettles for a history project sponsored by a local rotary club, Obama said.
Villano started a five-year mission, along with Kettles' son Mike, a retired Navy pilot, to ensure that Kettles receive the Medal of Honor.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, along with her husband John Dingell, "went above and beyond to pass a law to make sure that even all these years later, we could still fully recognize Chuck Kettles' heroism as we do today," Obama said.
"And that is one more reason this story is quintessentially American -- looking out for one another; the belief that nobody should be left behind," Obama said. "
"This shouldn't just be a creed for our soldiers. This should be a creed for all of us. This is a country that is never finished in its mission to improve, to do better, to learn from our history, to work to form a more perfect union.
"And at a time when, let's face it, we have had a couple of tough weeks. For us to remember the goodness and decency of the American people in a way that we can all look out for each other, even when times are tough, even when the odds are against us. What a wonderful inspiration. What a great gift for us to be able to celebrate something like this."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.



http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/07/18/obama-awards-medal-of-honor-to-vietnam-veteran-charles-kettles.html

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:16 pm 
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Hopey looks like he'd just as soon strangle him with that thing, and if he's anything like most war vets I know, the feelings mutual....


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:22 pm 
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Another example of how out Vietnam Veterans got the short end. Thankfully this was given a second life and Kettles was awarded the CMH.
What a story.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:07 pm 
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"Hopey looks like he'd just as soon strangle him with that thing, and if he's anything like most war vets I know, the feelings mutual...."

LOL, the veteran's expression confirms that...

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:58 pm 
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superk wrote:
Hopey looks like he'd just as soon strangle him with that thing, and if he's anything like most war vets I know, the feelings mutual....


War vets are awesome! Like Gavin Long and Micah Johnson!


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:48 am 
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R Lee Ermey is way overdue for a Presidential medal. I'd like to see how that goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:58 am 
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Steel Drummer wrote:
superk wrote:
Hopey looks like he'd just as soon strangle him with that thing, and if he's anything like most war vets I know, the feelings mutual....


War vets are awesome! Like Gavin Long and Micah Johnson!


Because of course all vets are just like those two... :roll: :roll:

There are bad apples in every group. What is this obsession with pointing them out and then broad brushing?

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:18 am 
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Jeemie wrote:
Steel Drummer wrote:
superk wrote:
Hopey looks like he'd just as soon strangle him with that thing, and if he's anything like most war vets I know, the feelings mutual....


War vets are awesome! Like Gavin Long and Micah Johnson!


Because of course all vets are just like those two... :roll: :roll:

There are bad apples in every group. What is this obsession with pointing them out and then broad brushing?


Comments were made insinuating that Obama is a weakling despised by our honorable vets. My comment was a bit of sarcasm, perhaps lame, responding to that. And, by the way, killing 5 cops makes you a "bad apple"? And also by the way, who on this board or really anywhere has an obsession with slandering vets?

For a serious response to the first couple comments: Don't worry about Obama! Him are a he-man! He's been doing everything he can to murder Muslims all over the world for over 7 years. His first move was to more than triple our troop strength in Afghanistan, to over 100,000. He refused to honor Bush's agreement to withdraw from Iraq for 4 long years, while trying to negotiate an agreement that would let our troops commit any crime they wanted with impunity. Somehow the Iraqis wouldn't agree to that, so we finally got out just in time for Obama to look like a peacemaker before his reelection.

Then there's Libya, once a secular, peaceful nation with the highest standard of living in the area, now an anarchic hellscape, jihadist playground, and high road for refugees to the Mediterranean. And there's terror-bombing 7 Muslim countries! And helping to destroy Syria! And Yemen, with the help of our Wahhabist buddies in Saudi Arabia.

Nope, don't worry about Obama! He is strong!


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:19 pm 
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Good for him. He deserves it.

I'm sure more do as well.

God bless them all and all vets. I have a soft spot for Vietnam vets since my dad was one.

Burn a flag or disrespect a vet while I'm around and I'm going ape shit.


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Vet Awarded Medal of Honor for Heroic Helo Rescu
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:01 am 
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Great story! Thanks for sharing

And give credit where due...Obama is a great orator - gave me chills reading that account.

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