Stabenow Statement on President Obama Awarding Medal of Honor to Ypsilanti Vietnam Veteran Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Kettles

Monday, July 18, 2016

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a statement after President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Ypsilanti native and Vietnam veteran, then Major, Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Kettles.  Senator Stabenow introduced legislation with Senator Gary Peters and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in 2015 to allow Lt. Col. Kettles to receive the Medal of Honor. 

“Today, close to 50 years after Lt. Col. Kettles acted heroically to save the lives of 44 of his fellow service members, he is finally receiving the recognition he deserves with our nation’s highest military honor,” said Senator Stabenow.  “We are grateful for his sacrifices and heroism in the service of our country and I am so proud to see him receive the Medal of Honor.” 

Lt. Col. Kettles received the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Lt. Col. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967.  He is credited with saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his own crew members.

Because the statute of limitations had passed, Congressional action was required to award Lt. Col. Kettles with the Medal of Honor. Senator Stabenow’s legislation waived the time limitation and allowed the President to make the final decision.  The legislation was included in the end of year spending bill that was signed into law in December 2015.