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Charles Kettles
War: Korea & Vietnam
Branch: United States Army
Unit: 176tj Company, 1st Brigade of 101st Airborne
Highest Rank: Major
Decorations/Citations: Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star, and 27 Air Medal Awards.


While studying for his undergraduate degree at Michigan State Normal School Charles was drafted into the army in October of 1951. He was assigned to Army flight school. When he graduated in April of 1954, Charles was sent to Korea, but by then the conflict was over.

Upon returning to Lansing he joined the Army Reserve. He owned a Ford dealership with his brother in Dewitt, Michigan and spent two weeks during the summer at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. In 1963 Charles volunteered for active duty because the Army was in need of pilots.

Charles was sent to Vietnam in early 1967. The second portion of his tour he was appointed Brigade Aviation Officer and remained in Vietnam until October 1967. Charles had a second tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969 where he commanded the 121st Assault Helicopter Company in the Delta. In 1970 he returned to Fort Sam Houston in the United States where he worked in the aviation division and in a readiness group that supported the National Guard and Army Reserve troops. Charles remained in San Antonio until he had finished his service in the Army in 1978.

Upon his discharge Charles retuned to Michigan to finish his undergraduate degree at Eastern Michigan University. He also completed his Masters and went on to teach at Eastern for 6 years where he established the Aviation Management Degree program in 1982. He went on to work at Chrysler Pentastar Aviation until his retirement in 1993.