February 4, 2019
The Song Tra Cau riverbed near Duc Pho, South Vietnam, was dubbed “Chump Valley”. Only a chump, American soldiers said, would venture there.
Kettles receives his medal of honor from the president in 2016On Monday 15 May 1967 Major Charles Kettles did just that, braving punishing fire from the North Vietnamese to make four helicopter journeys delivering reinforcements to outnumbered members of the 101st Airborne Division – and evacuate the wounded and the dead.
Kettles was credited with saving the lives of 44 men and received the Distinguished Service Cross, the military’s second-highest award for valour, for his actions. Nearly half a century later, the award was upgraded to Medal of Honour.
President Barack Obama, bestowing the medal on Kettles in 2016, recalled a comrade who called Kettles “our John Wayne”.
Kettles, who died aged 89, retired from the army in 1978 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
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