Lt. Colonel(retired) Charles Kettles Medal of Honor Recipient
This week on Veterans Radio we will be talking with America’s newest Medal of Honor recipient LTC (retired) Charles ”Chuck” Kettles and LTC (retired) Donald “Don” Long. Long’s helicopter was shot down in the landing zone that day and was finally rescued when Kettles came back with additional aircraft borrowed from the 161st Aviation Company(Pelicans).
During the early morning hours of May 15, 1967, personnel of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, were ambushed in the Song Tra Cau riverbed by an estimated battalion-sized force of the North Vietnamese army with numerous automatic weapons, machine guns, mortars and recoilless rifles. The enemy force fired from a fortified complex of deeply embedded tunnels and bunkers, and was shielded from suppressive fire. Upon learning that the 1st Brigade had suffered casualties during an intense firefight with the enemy, then-Maj. Charles S. Kettles, volunteered to lead a flight of six UH-1D helicopters from the 176th Aviation Company (Minutemen) to carry reinforcements to the embattled force and to evacuate wounded personnel. As the flight approached the landing zone, it came under heavy enemy attack. Deadly fire was received from multiple directions and soldiers were hit and killed before they could leave the arriving lift helicopters…and much more.