CW2 MICHAEL J. NOVOSEL
82d Med 45th Med Co, 68th Med Group.
KienTuong Province, RVN
2 October 1969
Mr. Novosel, was PIC on a medical evacuation helicopter responding to a hot emergency evacuation request.
Mike unflinchingly maneuvered his helicopter into a heavily fortified and defended enemy area where a group of wounded Vietnamese soldiers were pinned down by a large enemy force.
Flying without gunship or other cover and exposed to intense machinegun fire, Mike was unable to locate and rescue the wounded soldiers.
All radio communication with the ground troops had been lost. Mike repeatedly circled the battle area, flying at low level under continuous heavy fire, to attract the attention of the scattered friendly troops.
This display of courage visibly raised their morale, as they recognized this as a signal to assemble for evacuation.
The situation completely untenable and suicidal, Mike asked his crew if they were with him, “Gentlemen, this aint gonna be pretty” – his Patient Protect, his Medic, his Crew-chief and his Co-pilot all gave him the thumbs up.
On SIX occasions Mike Novosel and his crew were forced out of the battle area by the intense enemy fire, on SIX occasions Mike and his crew circled and returned from another direction to land and extract additional troops.
Late in the mission, one of the Dust-Off crew spotted a wounded soldier close to an enemy bunker. Understanding that they would attract a hail of enemy fire, Mike attempted the extraction by hovering his helicopter backward into the confined area.
Heavy enemy automatic weapons opened fire at close range, damaging the aircraft and wounding Mike causing him to lose control of the aircraft. He swiftly recovered, continued the rescue and exited the battle under withering enemy fire – the wounded soldier was saved.
Mr. Novosel and his brave crew conducted a total of 15 extremely hazardous extractions under heavy enemy fire and the lives of 29 soldiers were saved.
It gives me great pride to be able to Say Mike Novosel was my friend – In 1977, back when I was just a Wee SP/5, CW4 Mike Novosel was my Maintenance Officer in 8th CAB at Finthen Army Airfield FRG. I relied heavily on Mr. Novosel’s assistance to keep my girl flying, and Mike relied on my language skills anytime he needed to deal with the locals.
It is a testament to his character that I hung out with Mike for almost 2 years before I knew he had the Medal of Honor. – He was humble, and a Soldier’s officer, the kind of man you wanted to follow.
Fratribus Sine Pari.