Colonel Joseph W. Eszes, Ret.
COL (Ret.) Joseph W. Eszes began his thirty-five year career in the Marine Corps, followed by service as an Army Warrant Officer and Regular Army Officer (commissioned in combat). Eszes commanded ground and Cavalry units at the platoon, battery, troop, squadron, and brigade levels.
His Army Aviation combat record is exceptional. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty on December 9, 1971. The citation reads, in part, “Five times 1LT Eszes braved death in an attempt to rescue his fallen comrades.” He was ultimately awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nations’ second highest award for extraordinary heroism. His awards and decorations also include The Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses; the Bronze Star, fifty-six Air Medals, four for valor; and two Purple Hearts. He is a Master Army Aviator with 3,100 hours, 1,671 hours in combat.
Under his command, the 6th Cavalry Brigade was twice awarded the Department of Defense Daedalian for distinguished aviation safety and he was inducted into the Silver Honorable Order of Saint Michael. He continues serving as the Secretary of the Army appointed Honorary Colonel, 16th Cavalry Regiment and is a frequent speaker at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he teaches and mentors officers. Eszes is the first senior mentor for the Air Cavalry Leaders Course.