Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles went above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War.
That’s why he received the Medal of Honor on July 18, 2016, from President Barack Obama.
Kettles, who is from Ypsilanti, Mich., has a history of serving his country. He enlisted in 1951 and deployed a total of six times to Korea, Japan, Thailand, France and Vietnam.
Here a few of the reasons he received the highest award of honor, according to the United States Department of Defense:
- He volunteered to bring supplies and reinforcements to ambushed soldiers.
- He returned his helicopter to base while leaking gas from enemy fire.
- He volunteered again to go back to pick up the last 44 soldiers.
- He went back one last time to rescue eight soldiers who weren’t at the rally point — without other military support. This was after his helicopter was critically damaged in several areas.
What did Kettles have to say about his bravery?
“We got the 44 out,” he said. “None of those names appear on the wall in Washington. There’s nothing more important than that.”
Obama didn’t let Kettles shirk away from acknowledging how incredible his actions were years ago.
“To the dozens of American solders that he saved in Vietnam half a century ago, Chuck is the reason they lived and came home and had children and grandchildren,” he said at the White House Medal of Honor Ceremony. “Entire family trees, made possible by the actions of one man.”