"Above the Best"
Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1975 Induction
(Inducted to represent the 1960-1969 period)
Chief Warrant Officer (W3), (later CW4) Michael J. Novosel was a "man for all seasons." As a DUSTOFF pilot - that almost legendary breed of helicopter flier whose record in rescuing wounded men during battle is one of the proudest chapters in the Vietnam War -he was one of the best.
A lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve when the Vietnam conflict began to broaden in the early 1960's, Novosel lived comfortably, but felt that he could be of help to his country in some capacity. Finding the USAF overstrength in its 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.
His desire to help was quickly answered when, as a member of the Special Forces in 1965, he evacuated wounded civilians to hospitals when the U.S. intervened in the Dominican Republic civil crisis.
He was credited with evacuating more than 2,200 wounded persons and "extracting" some 5,500 wounded soldiers and Vietnamese in all. His 60 Oak Leaf Clusters to his Air Medal, his three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and his Purple Heart denote a remarkable man.
At age 48, he became the oldest member of the Army to win the Medal of Honor, the award being made for his repeated bravery in the face of heavy Viet Cong gunfire while he extracted 29 wounded South Vietnamese soldiers during 2 1/2 desperate hours of flying on 2 October 1969.
Always displaying the technical competence of the true professional, Novosel has dedicated his life to aviation, to the military services, and to his country.