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Michael J. Novosel
Birth: Sep. 3, 1922
Death: Apr. 2, 2006

Viet Nam Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. A Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army, he was born in Etna, Pennsylvania, and became a military aviation cadet at age 19. During World War II he served flying B-29 Superfortress bombers for the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater. After the war he transferred to the Air Force Reserve in 1949, was temporarily recalled to active duty during the Korean War and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserve. A senior airline pilot living comfortably when the Vietnam conflict accelerated in the 1960s, he felt that he could offer more service to his country. With the United States Air Force overstrength in senior grades, he obtained four years' military leave from his employer, Southern Airways, and joined the Army Aviation Program in June 1964 as a warrant officer. Became a medivac (medical evacuation) pilot with the Army's Special Forces serving first in the Middle East and then, in 1965, evacuated wounded civilians to hospitals during the Dominican Republic crisis. Next served two tours in South Vietnam, accumulating 2,083 flying hours in some 2,543 missions in the Bell UH-1 Huey and airlifting nearly 5,600 medical evacuees. He then served three years as chief pilot for the Army's Golden Knights parachute team at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Later transferred to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he was an author and lecturer at the Warrant Officer Career College; and his final assignment at the Army Aviation Center where he helped set Army aviation standards before he retired in 1985. At the end of his military career as a master army aviator and Air Force command pilot, he was the only person to hold the top pilot ratings for the two services and had a total of 42 years on flight status during which he logged 12,400 flying hours. While in Vietnam he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his October 2, 1969, helicopter rescue of wounded South Vietnamese soldiers pinned down by a large enemy force and was wounded as he rescued 29 men. At age 48 he was the oldest member of the United States Army to receive the Medal of Honor, presented by President Nixon on June 15, 1971 at the White House. His citation reads "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. CWO Novosel, 82d Medical Detachment, distinguished himself while serving as commander of a medical evacuation helicopter. He unhesitatingly maneuvered his helicopter into a heavily fortified and defended enemy training 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 machine gun fire, CWO Novosel was able to locate and rescue a wounded soldier. Since all communications with the beleaguered troops had been lost, he 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. On 6 occasions he and his crew were forced out of the battle area by the intense enemy fire, only to circle and return from another direction to land and extract additional troops. Near the end of the mission, a wounded soldier was spotted close to an enemy bunker. Fully realizing that he would attract a hail of enemy fire, CWO Novosel nevertheless attempted the extraction by hovering the helicopter backward. As the man was pulled on aboard, enemy automatic weapons opened fire at close range, damaged the aircraft and wounded CWO Novosel. He momentarily lost control of the aircraft, but quickly recovered and departed under the withering enemy fire. In all, 15 extremely hazardous extractions were performed in order to remove wounded personnel. As a direct result of his selfless conduct, the lives of 29 soldiers were saved. The extraordinary heroism displayed by CWO Novosel was an inspiration to his comrades in arms and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army." In addition to the CMOH, his military decorations included: the Air Medal with 60 Oak Leaf Clusters, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and the Purple Heart. His book, "Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator," was published in 2003. (bio by: Fred Beisser) 
 
Family links: 
 Children:
  Michael J. Novosel (1949 - 2009)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 7A, Lot 178-C
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Fred Beisser
Record added: Apr 03, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13841529
Michael J. Novosel
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Michael J. Novosel
Added by: Don Morfe
 
Michael J. Novosel
Added by: K. Mansfield
 
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