Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.
President Obama will award retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles the nation’s highest award for heroism for saving 44 American soldiers during a May 15, 1967 enemy ambush in the Vietnam War.
On Monday, July 18, 2016, Kettles is scheduled to receive the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his actions while serving as a flight commander assigned to 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division.
"Then-Major Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967," according to a June 21 White House press release. "He led a platoon of UH-1Ds to provide support to the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, during an ambush by a battalion-sized enemy force."
After leading several trips to the hot landing zone and evacuating the wounded, he returned, without additional aerial support, to rescue a squad-sized element of stranded soldiers pinned down by enemy fire. Kettles is credited with saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his own crew members, according to the press release.
Kettles was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Jan. 9, 1930. He was drafted into the Army at age 21 while enrolled in Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) where he studied engineering.
Upon completion of basic training at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, Kettles attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and earned his commission as an armor officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Feb. 28, 1953. Kettles graduated from the Army Aviation School in 1954, before serving active duty tours in Korea, Japan and Thailand.
Kettles volunteered for active duty in 1963. He attended Helicopter Transition Training at Fort Wolters, Texas in 1964. During a tour in France the following year, Kettles was cross-trained to fly the famed UH-1D "Huey."
In 1966, Kettles was assigned as a flight commander with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, and deployed to Vietnam from February through November 1967. His second tour of duty in Vietnam lasted from October 1969, through October 1970.
In 1970, Kettles went to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he served as an aviation team chief and readiness coordinator supporting the Army Reserve. He remained in San Antonio until his retirement from the Army in 1978.
Kettles has numerous awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with Numeral "27," and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with bronze star.
After leaving active duty, Kettles established a Ford dealership in Dewitt, Michigan, and continued his service with the Army Reserve as a member of the 4th Battalion, 20th Field Artillery.
Kettles completed his bachelor’s degree at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas, and earned his master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University, College of Technology, in commercial construction.
He went on to develop the Aviation Management Program at the College of Technology and taught both disciplines. He later worked for Chrysler Pentastar Aviation until his retirement in 1993. Kettles currently lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with his wife Ann.
The article originally appeared on Military.com.
More from Military.com:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.
After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.
But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.
That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.
After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.
"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.
Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.