Charles L. Kelly was the Commanding Officer of the 57th Medical
Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) in Vietnam from the 11th of January
1964 until he was killed in action on the 1st of July of the same year
while trying to evacuate a wounded American advisor along with several
ARVN (South Vietnamese Army) wounded.
He is considered to be the founder of U.S. helicopter ‘Dustoff’ medical evacuation operations
was KIA (Killed-in-Action) on 1 July 1964 when, after being warned out
of a ‘Hot’ Landing Zone, he replied with his famous last words, “When I
have your wounded.”
he was shot down, his men landed at the site of his crash and attempted
to revive him to no avail. Ernie Sylvester, who was trained by
Kelly, right out of flight school, flew his body to an aid station in
hopes of a miracle. A lone bullet from a sniper had pierced his heart
and lodged in the frame of the aircraft.
following day, a senior U.S. commander tossed the bullet that killed
Kelly onto the desk of Lieutenant Patrick Henry Brady*, and asked Brady
they were going to stop flying so aggressively.
Brady picked up the bullet and replied, “we are going to keep flying
exactly the way Kelly taught us to fly, without hesitation, anytime,
This determination to continue the ‘Dustoff’ mission as envisioned by Kelly was upheld throughout the Vietnam
War and continues to this day.
Charles Kelly was posthumously awarded the US Army’s Distinguished Service Cross (second only to the Medal
of Honour). He was also awarded South Vietnam’s Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the National Order of Vietnam.
* Lt. Patrick Brady served two tours in Vietnam as a medical evacuation ‘Dustoff’ pilot and, on his second tour in 1968,
was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Major General Pat’ Brady (retired) recalled his Vietnam service with his old C.O. - Charles Kelly:
had arrived in Vietnam the day before. Never had I experienced such
heat. It was as if someone had covered me with a hot, steamy wool
blanket. There was no sleeping that night because of the heat, the
excitement and the persistent chirping sound in my room. I thought it
must be some wayward birds. When the sun came up, I found my walls
covered with lizards. Singing lizards? Indeed, it was a reptile rhapsody
that had serenaded me that first night.
was joining the 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance), which
had arrived in Vietnam in April of 1962. Since then, they had struggled
for operational definition, recognition and permanence. There were those
who coveted their brand-new helicopters and many who felt that the
medevac (medical evacuation) mission should be a part-time mission.
Their primary mission was American casualties, and since there were few
of them at this time, these folks believed that the medevac birds should
be fitted with convertible red crosses and used for other missions when
there were no casualties to carry. The unit was holding its own and had
become known as ‘Dust Off’. The radio call sign had no particular
significance. It had been picked from a list of call signs and kept to
avoid confusion. When someone called for Dust Off, everyone knew it was
for a casualty. Maj. Charles L. Kelly was the commander.
the next morning, I reported to Tan Son Nhut airfield in Saigon where I
saw my first Dust Off clearing the end of the runway. They told me it
was Major Kelly going on a mission. We were at lunch when he joined us.
Kelly was a small man – very proud, but still rather shy. His face was
quite Irish, freckled and round, dominated by large eyes that seemed to
change size according to his mood. Those eyes moved more quickly than
the rest of him and could be rather disquieting once they rested on you.
He spoke with a soft Georgia drawl and never raised his voice,
regardless of his mood or the danger of the moment. You only needed to
look in his eyes to know his mood.
had heard a lot about him. Vietnam was his third war. Between wars, he
was a high school principal. I was told that he was the only man ever to
wear the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Combat Medical Badge, as well as
jump and aviator wings. He had been an enlisted man and rose through
the ranks to major. Legend had it that he had been court-martialled
earlier in his career and would never make lieutenant colonel.
first words I heard him say were: ‘We never covered ourselves with
glory today.’ He had just returned from an operation along the coast
south of Saigon. An H-21, the old banana-shape helicopter, had gone down
in the South China Sea. Kelly and his crew heard the distress call and
almost beat them to the water.
Miraculously, the entire crew had gotten out before their bird sank.
They were in the water clear of the ‘21 when Kelly came down over them.
started to put his skids in the ocean, but his co-pilot, who was the
commander of the mission since Kelly had only been in country one week,
would not allow it. He was concerned about the waves. Kelly was forced
to hover over the downed crew and watch them drown one by one as his
crew, using a litter, failed to pull all but one aboard. The combination
of the downwash from Kelly’s rotor blades, rough seas and the weight of
their clothing - especially their boots - prevented Kelly’s crew from
pulling them on board. We heard later that some washed ashore with one
boot on and one off.
was deep anguish in Kelly’s face as he told the story. I don’t think he
ever forgave his co-pilot for not letting him put his skids in the
water. As risky as that might have been, it was the only way those men
could have been saved. That would be the last time Kelly left undone
anything that had any chance of saving a life, no matter how dangerous.
Kelly finally focused on me, he told me not to unpack. I learned later
he was sending me north where we had 2 birds, one in the central
highlands at Pleiku and the other one on the coast at Qui Nhon. The 3 in
Saigon rounded out the total of only 5 Dust Offs that covered Vietnam
in those days. That was all he said to me: no welcome and no pep talk –
simply, ‘Don’t unpack.’
first meeting was not pleasant, but I don’t believe I was ever around
that man without learning something. We had no hoists at that time; but I
never flew without a rope; and I put zippers in my boots as soon as I
could find some. Often, I learned, it was some small overlooked detail
that made the difference between surviving and dying.
was a teacher, a quality rare in many commanders I have known. He
seemed unconcerned about previous flying experience. Although there were
many experienced medical pilots (in terms of years of service and
flying hours) in the Army, most of the pilots in Kelly’s unit were not
experienced. He made no effort to get anyone specifically assigned to
his unit but took what the pipeline brought. He was as interested in
what he could do for his men, what he could teach them, as he was
interested in what they could do for him. Mostly, he was interested in
what they could do together for the mission.
him, I learned that experience was not always related to time and
repetition. It is not what has happened to us that makes us experienced,
but rather what we do with what has happened to us - or better yet,
what we do with what has happened to others. I worked two tours with
‘inexperienced’ pilots, and they were marvellous. Alertness is a part of
all that. It is vital in experience and should be vital in training.
Some soldiers just are more alert; and time, repetition or duration is
not the key. Caring is the key. The inner quality that makes soldiers
alert, that makes them experienced, is caring. I’ve never met a soldier
who cared more than Kelly, not just about people, but about what was
right and about doing what you did right. There was little action up
north, and I was grateful when the decision was made to move those
aircraft to Soc Trang in the Mekong River Delta where most of the
fighting was at that time. The two aircraft and their crews would come
Detachment A of the 57th, and much to my delight, Kelly told me I could
command it. He would go down first and set things up. I would follow
after I got back to Saigon, I was on a mission with the unit supply
officer. We were on short final into a ‘secure’ area when there was a
splatter of blood across the cockpit and he announced, rather quietly I
thought, that he had been shot. Kelly wasted no time notifying me that
since I had gotten his supply officer shot, I was now the new supply
officer - a job I hated. The truth was that Kelly was flying in the
Delta and didn’t want to come back to Saigon. I never missed an
opportunity to rag him about his earlier promise to let me command
Detachment A. He would just look at me, occasionally with his twinkle
and ignore me.
early encounter I had with Kelly was the result of a mission we flew
near Phan Thiet, just north of Saigon. The South Vietnamese Army
‘friendlies’ (the ARVN) were surrounded and had taken quite a few
casualties. We had been carrying wounded out of the area all day. During
a re-fuelling stop, a U.S. military adviser asked it we would carry
some ammunition resupply in on our next trip. The only other bird in the
area was a fixed-winged spotter plane. My co-pilot, who had been in
country longer than I had, called me to one side, and we discussed the
propriety of the request. He noted the Geneva Convention prohibitions on
such use of medical sources and the medical community’s concerns in
this regard. If the word got out, we might get into trouble. I wasn’t
all that clear on the Geneva Convention, but we both agreed that what
was clear was that if our South Vietnamese ARVN ‘friendlies’ didn't get
some ammunition, we would end up carrying all of them to the morgue. We
took the ammo in.
that time, the spotter plane was shot down. When we got into the crash
location, we found both U.S. pilots dead. We were forced out of the area
by enemy fire but decided to wait for the ARVN ‘friendlies’ to secure
the crash site so we could take the bodies back that night. Carrying the
dead was also not an approved medical mission and a frequent cause of
discord between the medical and operational folks. On the way back, much
to my discomfort, I got word that Kelly wanted to see me.
got into the airfield after midnight. Kelly and many of the 57th
were waiting. Kelly did not look pleased. He took me to one side and in
measured tones, quieter than usual, asked me what in the hell I was
thinking of - carrying that ammo. I told him I was practicing preventive
medicine. He kind of blinked, almost smiled, but said no more.
followed him back to the group where he announced that he was proud of
our work that day. He said it was the kind of thing he wanted to see
Dust Off do and that he was recommending our crew for medals (we had
carried quite a few casualties and taken several hits from enemy ground
fire). No one mentioned the Geneva Convention after that, nor did I ever
hesitate to carry the dead as long as it did not interfere with service
to the living. You’ll find disagreement on both missions. To this day,
I’m not sure what the book says about a situation like that - nor do I
care. As a young officer I had taken a risk, right or wrong, and my
boss, even though he would have been the one to answer for my actions,
stood by me. It’s easy to find a boss to stand by you when the buck
stops at him, not so easy when it stops at his boss.
great adversary, and boss, was Brigadier General ‘Joe’ (Joseph W.)
Stilwell. He was the son of ‘Vinegar Joe’ (General Joseph W. Stilwell of
World War II China-Burma fame), and we called him ‘Cider Joe’. This guy
was a genuine character. He was not an aviator, but he flew; and when
he wasn’t flying, he rode as door gunner. The man was combat hungry and
tough as hell. I was told he once survived a jump after his parachute
malfunctioned. The last I heard about him was that his plane ditched at
sea, and he was never found. Some folks waited a long time for him to
walk up off the ocean floor.
meetings with Kelly were always colourful, occasionally comical and
even violent. Kelly was not intimidated by anything, let alone rank.
Stilwell resurrected the issue of convertible red crosses and the
cannibalization of Dust Off. He told Kelly that it was only a matter of
time until he gained control of Dust Off and noted that the surgeon
general was a personal friend of his. Kelly allowed that the surgeon
general might be his friend, but he wasn’t a damn fool.
called us together after his first meeting with Stilwell and warned
that those ‘folks in headquarters’ did not wish us well. If Dust Off is
to survive, he said, we had better prove that no one else could do what
we did as well as we did. Performance was the key to our survival, and
although he never set any rules for us, he certainly set the example.
key was the wounded - saving lives no matter the circumstances; get
them out during the battle, at night, in weather, whatever. Get those
wounded, the more the better; and don’t let anyone else carry our
patients. We increased, even advertised, our service to the ARVN (Army
of the Republic of Vietnam). We even carried the enemy wounded. We never
discriminated against a wounded soldier, no matter his cause.
set up a kind of circuit. He would head out at dusk and cover the
outposts of the Delta, checking for patients and putting out the word
that Dust Off was available anytime it was needed. Although he had many
close calls, it was because of the night flying that many began to call
him Madman Kelly.
missions, single ship, with one engine were viewed with alarm by many
and flown only in the most extreme emergencies. Most believed that if
you lost that engine at night, you certainly were dead. Even if you
lived through the autorotation, they warned, ‘Charlie’ (the Viet Cong)
would get you before sunup. Kelly flew missions nightly, on a routine
key to saving lives was time – the time from injury to medical care,
not necessarily to a hospital. Dust Off had highly competent medical
care on board. The helicopter eliminated the time obstacles created by
distance and terrain, but it made no sense to waste lifesaving time
waiting for the sun to come up.
Off was a pioneer in helicopter night flying. Indeed, many of us felt
it was the safest time to fly, and we all became good at it. I was never
in a Dust Off unit that lost an aircraft because of darkness – because
of enemy ground fire on occasions, but never because of night.
Repetition, not avoidance, is vital in dangerous training. You don’t get
good at something you will have to do by avoiding it. Night hours were
training multipliers – they made you better at all types of flying.
day missions were primitive and challenging in those days. Our
communication with the ARVN seldom worked and was rarely accurate even
when it was working. You never knew what was waiting when you found the
site (which in itself could be a challenge) and seldom had anyone to
talk to when you got there. It was not rare for Dust Off to land in the
middle of the Viet Cong. We learned fast and quickly developed many
flying techniques to promote survival. Before long, we were very
difficult to kill. Although we took a lot of hits, nothing stopped us
from eventually bringing home the wounded.
was burning up the Delta and also becoming very famous down there. Jim
Lucas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, began to write about him. Only
later would those of us in Saigon learn of his fame, but we were working
hard to keep up with him. His methods were occasionally unorthodox but
always effective as far as the wounded were concerned. On one pickup,
his crew got out and fought with the ground forces until they could get
the wounded aboard. Another time, he took some hits in the fuel cell and
was leaking JP-4 on the way to Soc Trang. The tower called and said
they would meet him on the runway with a fire truck and ambulance. They
asked if he needed anything else. He said yes, that he’d be obliged if
they’d bring some ice cream. He made it to the approach end of the
runway, and the base commander met him with a quart of ice cream.
though Kelly did not come back without the wounded, he never criticized
a pilot who did – he would simply go and get the wounded himself. Nor
did he ever criticize a crew member who wanted out of Dust Off. Some did
not agree with his methods and wanted out. They went with his best
wishes. There were also a lot of adventurous young men lined up to fly
with Dust Off.
don’t want you to get the idea he was perfect. Kelly had his ways. He
didn’t like our unit patch and wanted us to design a new one. He said he
was open to ideas but thought there should be some way to get an angel
in it. That raised some eyebrows. He had a picture of an angel by his
bed. It may have been a daughter dressed for a play, but Kelly had this
thing for angels.
found a gunship pilot who was a great patch designer. I asked him to
paint a design using a kangaroo in a flight suit carrying a patient in
its pouch. It was beautiful. I put it in his chair so he would see it
when he came to Saigon. He walked into his office, never even tried to
sit down, completely ignored the painting and left without comment. Next
time I saw him, he asked how I was doing with his angel.
the end of June 1964, Stilwell was ending his your as commander of U.S.
Army Support Command and was leaving Vietnam, and Kelly came to town
for the farewell dinner. I was having lunch that day with Kelly when we
got word that a ship had gone down up north and a pilot was killed. I
asked for his name. Kelly wondered why I wanted to know that. I told
that I had some flight school friends up there including a close friend
who was my buddy in flight school. He remarked it is better not to ask
for names in this business. I worried about the coldness of the remark
but figured that three wars might do that to you.
evening, he and I - and a recently arrived chaplain - were sitting
together listening to the Stilwell farewells. I had never seen Kelly so
animated. He was by nature a quiet private man, but this night he was
cheerful. He read between the lines of the speeches and his remarks were
colourful and his language rather earthy. The chaplain winced on more
than one occasion.
their last meeting, Kelly presented Stilwell with a plaque decorated
with 5 red crosses and the tail numbers of our choppers. He told
Stilwell, ‘General, you wanted my aircraft so bad, here they are.’ I
have a picture of that encounter, and Stilwell is smiling. I don’t think
the Dust Off issue was settled by then, but Kelly had his antagonist at
bay. For all their differences, I always felt there was something
rather special between Kelly and Stilwell.
took Kelly back to Soc Trang after Stilwell’s farewell and once again
bugged him about his promise to let me have Detachment A. I was shocked
when he said I could take over on 1 July. I think he was concerned about
the fight for Dust Off and had finally decided he should be in Saigon
for that battle.
can still remember the cold chill I felt in my belly when we got word
that Kelly was down. We all raced for our birds and headed for the
Mekong Delta. On the way down we monitored the operation on radio. A
‘slick’ (troop-carrying type helicopter) went in and picked up the
crashed Dust Off crew, and we heard they were safe at Vinh Long. We all
breathed a sigh of relief, and I remember smiling to myself as I thought
about Kelly’s reaction to being picked up by ‘slick’.
saw a lone Dust Off on the ramp at Vinh Long and another parked behind
it. One of our pilots was sitting in the door. I was in a cheerful mood
until I noticed he was crying. Then I the saw the body bag behind him.
Before I could say anything, he nodded at the bag and said it was Kelly.
All the air went out of my body, and I sank down beside him. He had
come through so many tight spots, so close so many times, that it never
occurred to me that they could kill him. The reality just shook me.
had gone into a supposedly secure area for some urgent wounded – one of
them a U.S. soldier. Once on the ground, they began drawing fire. It
was not unusual in those days to take fire out of friendly lines. The
ground forces screamed at Kelly to get out. He replied in his quiet
Georgia drawl, ‘When I have your wounded.’ His next words were ‘my God,’
and he curled up from a single bullet shot right through his heart. The
ship curled with him, and the rotors beat it to pieces. The crew got
out safely but would not leave until they dragged Kelly out. There was a
U.S. doctor on board, and he declared Kelly dead on the spot. Then they
had only been at Vinh Long a few minutes before I got there, and the
same people were yelling for a Dust Off to come back for the urgent
wounded that Kelly was killed trying to rescue. I recall Kelly’s deputy,
now our new commander, rushing over to us as we sat there in silent
numbness. He began to shout and wave and give orders and question why we
sat while there were wounded in the field. I can remember rousing from
my stupor and becoming outraged at his insensitivity to what had
happened to Kelly. They had been friends for years. He saw my anger and
said simply and quietly, ‘it’s over; it’s done; and we’ve got work to
“He was right. Kelly was probably smiling in the body bag behind us.
cranked up and went back for Kelly’s wounded. That landing zone is
still so clear in my mind. Kelly’s ship was burning, the area still
called secure and the wounded still classified urgent. We were landing
beside the burning Dust Off when our ship took several ground fire hits,
probably the same folks who shot Kelly. We jumped over a tree line,
checked to ensure we were still flyable and went back.
time we made a tactical approach, found some cover and retrieved the
patients. The one wounded American advisor walked to the aircraft
carrying a bag. All the wounded were ambulatory. None was urgent. I was
told that one was coming out of the field to go on R&R. (Kelly
died for these ‘urgent wounded’ …)
stayed in Kelly’s room that night and slept in his bed. I remember
sitting at his desk writing up the missions of that day. It was 1 July,
1964, and I was finally the commander of Detachment A, just as Kelly had
was the 149th American killed in Vietnam, and the outcry was
overwhelming. I think it was then that we all realized how revered he
was in the Mekong Delta.
was told that Stilwell broke down and cried when told of Kelly’s death.
He was given the highest awards of the Vietnamese government, and they
had the biggest funeral I had ever seen in Saigon. His pilots were
pallbearers. It was an emotionally tough time for all of us.
“There were two coffins in the chapel that day. The other one was my stick buddy, the one Kelly told me not
to inquire about. They were now side by side. The chaplain was the same one who had winced at Kelly’s war
stories a few days earlier. He never mentioned the names of the dead on his altar that day, and I have often
wondered if he knew who it was he was praying over.
“I never again heard another word about convertible Dust Offs. In fact, they began to bring in more Dust Off
units. There is no telling how many lives were saved because of Kelly, probably because of his death, and
the preservation of the dedicated Dust Off as opposed to some part-time, ad hoc system.
“I can tell you that some of those who came behind Kelly did not agree with his methods. They were more
concerned with getting themselves out than with getting the wounded out. He was a tough act to follow. As
the older ones washed out, the young ones fought to preserve his spirit and his traditions. I think he is still
alive in Dust Off units today.
Kelly is most remembered for his physical courage in saving lives in
combat, it was his moral courage that saved Dust Off – the greatest
lifesaver the battlefield has ever seen. I have known many with blinding
courage on the battlefield who would later succumb to the outrages and
onslaughts of the bureaucracy and its daily drill of paper. I have known
others who would cower in the unending war we all wage between our
security, our desires, our passions and those wonderful things called
our ideals. Kelly was unique in the degree to which he possessed all
forms of courage.
“I think I also found the source, the key, to courage in Kelly. Of those I know who died in combat, none that I knew died for the flag or the country. They died for the people of America, those they loved, their buddies – they died for the country only inasmuch as it protected those they loved. So love was part of it (sacrifice is really nothing more than love in action), but so was faith, a belief that there is something beyond the moment and beyond and above the “I’ve not known many men of consistent repetitive courage who were not also men of faith. Fear is nothing more than our faith on trial. Kelly was a man of deep faith. He never missed church, and each day he posted an inspirational thought on the bulletin board. He certainly didn’t wear it on his sleeve, but it was evident to all around him. I know that in my own experiences my faith was for me a substitute for fear, a source of calm and comfort, and it gave me a confidence I don’t think I would have otherwise had. I think the greatest fear I ever had was that I might let him
there are many monuments and memorials to this man, but none as lasting
as those in the men who served with him. His last words, “When I have
your wounded,” set a standard for excellence that was both monumental
and memorable. He was responsible for what Dust Off was in Vietnam –
simply the most effective and efficient execution of a vital mission in
that war. Kelly was one man who made a difference. He was a leader, a
man who provoked openness, honesty and caring who lasted beyond his
lifetime. The great thing about true leaders like Kelly is that they
never leave us. Dead or alive, the noblest part of their being remains
behind, becomes a part of our being – as soldiers, of our profession of
all those things that make our way unique.”
Pat’ Brady evacuated more than 5,000 wounded during his two tours in Vietnam as a ‘Dustoff’ pilot. Pat’ Brady served under Charles Kelly in the 57th Medical Detachment during his first tour of Vietnam, and after Kelly’s death on the 1st of July 1964, Brady took command of the 57th Medical’s ‘Detachment A’ in Soc Trang. On his second tour, Pat’, by then a major, commanded the 54th Medical Detachment. Pat’ was awarded the United States Congressional Medal of Honour during his second tour of duty in Vietnam, after a series of missions on the 6th of January 1968, in which helicopters he flew rescued 57 severely wounded under direct enemy fire. Pat’ Brady’s choppers were so severely damaged in the dawn-to-dark missions that he had to use three separate choppers to accomplish the day’s operations. When that day was over, the three helicopters had more than 400 holes in them, and two other crewmen had been wounded. Pat’ was born on the 1st of October 1936, and is a native of South Dakota with more than 29 years of service as an
attended O’Dea High School in Seattle, a strict all-boys school run by
the well known Irish Catholic religious order, the Christian Brothers,
where he was active in sports. While in college at Seattle
University, he initially hated the compulsory ROTC (Reserve Officers
Training Corps) program and was kicked out. Brady realized he would
probably be drafted after graduation and so he re-joined the ROTC
programme to be able to enter the service as an officer.
graduation in 1959 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army
Medical Service Corps, and now also holds a master’s degree from Notre
Dame (the famous ‘fighting Irish’ university).
his other decorations are the Distinguished Service Cross, six
Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star Medal with V device and
oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart, and 53 Air Medals.
Medal of Honor citation:
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty, Major Brady distinguished himself
while serving in the Republic of Vietnam commanding a UH-1H ambulance
helicopter, volunteered to rescue wounded men from a site in enemy held
territory which was reported to be heavily defended and to be blanketed
by fog. To reach the site he descended through heavy fog and smoke and
hovered slowly along a valley trail, turning his ship sideward to blow
away the fog with the backwash from his rotor blades. Despite the
unchallenged, close-range enemy fire, he found the dangerously small
site, where he successfully landed and evacuated 2 badly wounded South
Vietnamese soldiers. He was then called to another area completely
covered by dense fog where American casualties lay only 50 meters from
the enemy. Two aircraft had previously been shot down and others had
made unsuccessful attempts to reach this site earlier in the day. With
unmatched skill and extraordinary courage, Major Brady made 4 flights to
this embattled landing zone and successfully rescued all the wounded.
On his third mission of the day Maj. Brady once again landed at a site
surrounded by the enemy. The friendly ground force, pinned down by enemy
fire, had been unable to reach and secure the landing zone. Although
his aircraft had been badly damaged and his controls partially shot away
during his initial entry into this area, he returned minutes later and
rescued the remaining injured. Shortly thereafter, obtaining a
replacement aircraft, Major Brady was requested to land in an enemy
minefield where a platoon of American soldiers was trapped. A mine
detonated near his helicopter, wounding 2 crewmembers and damaging his
ship. In spite of this, he managed to fly 6 severely injured patients to
medical aid. Throughout that day Major Brady utilized 3 helicopters to
evacuate a total of 51 seriously wounded men, many of whom would have
perished without prompt medical treatment. Major Brady’s bravery was in
the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit
upon himself and the U.S.