Michael Novosel, Medal of Honor holder, dies

Discussion in 'Vietnam' started by SSGMike.Ivy, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. SSGMike.Ivy

    SSGMike.Ivy Senior Member

    Michael J. Novosel Sr., a veteran of three wars, a Medal of Honor recipient and a major figure in Army aviation history, died April 2 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after a long battle with cancer.

    The 83-year-old retired chief warrant officer 4 earned the Medal of Honor for actions on Oct. 2, 1969, when he completed 15 hazardous combat extractions in a UH-1 Huey helicopter, saving the lives of 29 South Vietnamese soldiers who had been surrounded by enemy forces along the Cambodian border.

    His military career began during World War II when, at age 19, he was commissioned in the Army Air Forces, and subsequently flew combat missions against Japan as a B-29 bomber pilot. When the Japanese surrendered aboard the battleship Missouri in August 1945, Novosel commanded a bomber in a massive flyover of the ceremony in Tokyo harbor.

    After leaving active duty in 1949, Novosel joined the Air Force Reserve but was recalled to active duty for the Korean War.

    By 1964, when Vietnam was heating up, Novosel, by then a reserve lieutenant colonel, requested recall to active duty for the burgeoning war. Told the Air Force was overstrength in lieutenant colonels, Novosel — by then 42 years old — accepted an appointment as an Army warrant officer, and eventually was assigned to the 283rd Medical Detachment as a “dustoff” air evacuation pilot.
    Interestingly, around the same time as the action that earned Novosel the Medal of Honor, his son joined him in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in the same unit. Also named Mike, and also now a retired chief warrant officer 4, the younger Novosel was also a “dustoff” pilot, and together with his father, is credited with rescuing more than 7,000 men during their tours in Vietnam.
    After several assignments as an author, lecturer and instructor with the Warrant Officer Career College and Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., Novosel retired in 1985. The Army renamed Fort Rucker’s main street “Novosel Avenue” to honor of the last serving U.S. military pilot to have flown combat missions during World War II.

    As a master army aviator and Air Force command pilot, Novosel is the only person to hold the top pilot ratings for the two services. After 42 years on flight status, he logged 12,400 flying hours, 2,038 of those in combat. During two tours in Vietnam, he rescued an astounding 5,589 wounded soldiers.

    “I was in awe of his bravery and the stories I had heard,” recalled Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody, remembering how he first met Novosel early in his own career. “But what inspired me at the time, and what has stayed with me all these years, was Mike’s quiet, matter-of-fact, ‘follow-me’ example.
    “When I last saw Mike he was at Walter Reed, clearly ailing, but making his way amongst the wards visiting our injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “Sometimes the soldier defines the man,” Cody said. “In Mike’s case, the character of the man defines what it means to be a soldier.”
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Hopefully here's a picture.
    Wonder how many Father and sons served together in the same role?

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