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Letter: Kettles’ humble heroism is worthy of appreciation

Unless you have read extensively on the history of the men who served and fought in the Vietnam war you probably never heard of Charles Kettles. I did read of this true hero before and knew his story. Told by the very men that he rescued in Vietnam, 44 in all.

As a helicopter pilot he and his crew returned numerous times to evacuate wounded soldiers who would never have survived without his heroic efforts. He didn’t use phony deferments and try to avoid military service, he was in his 30s when he returned to active duty. The colonel served two tours in Vietnam.

President Barack Obama upgraded his Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor in 2016. A comrade of the colonel’s referred to him as our “John Wayne.”

The real relevance of this acknowledgement was his humility and his “aw shucks” attitude. No bravado, attitude or saying what a great general he would have made.

After the presentation in 2016 with the Medal of Honor the Colonel stated: “The only thing that matters is the 44 men who survived.” The rest of it is rather immaterial, frankly.

Col. Charles Kettles a true American hero. We salute you and RIP.

Phil Ryan

Buffalo

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