CW4 (Ret) Michael J. Novosel

Husband, Father, Son, American Hero and Friend to Many


April 6 2006



Bury me with Soldiers

I've played a lot of roles in life;
I've met a lot of men.
I've done some things I'd like to think
I wouldn't do again.

And though I'm young, I'm old enough
To know some day I'll die,
And to think about what lies beyond,
Besides whom I would lie.

Perhaps it doesn't matter much;
Still, if I had my choice,
I'd want a grave 'mongst soldiers when
At last death quells my voice.

I'm sick of the hypocrisy
Of lectures of the wise.
I'll take the man, with all the flaws,
Who goes, though scared, and dies.

The troops I knew were commonplace
They didn't want the war;
They fought because their fathers and
Their fathers had before.

They cursed and killed and wept---
God knows
They're easy to deride--
But bury me with men like these;
They faced the guns and died.

It's funny when you think of it,
The way we got along.
We'd come from different worlds
To live in one no one belongs.
I didn't even like them all;
I'm sure they'd all agree.
Yet I would give my life for them,
I hope some did for me.

So bury me with soldiers, please,
Though much maligned they be.
Yes, bury me with soldiers, for
I miss their company.
We'll not soon see their likes again;
We've had our fill of war.
But bury me with men like them
Till someone else does more.
~ Author Unknown ~

Mike Novosel was a genuine, 24-carat American war hero.  He is the real deal; he has at least as much of the right stuff as any astronaut, and a Medal of Honor, too.

Before Pearl Harbor, when Novosel enlisted in the Army Air Corps, he wasn't setting out to be a hero.  In fact, it looked like he would never get into combat at all.  After fast-talking his way into the aviation cadet program (he was too short to pass the physical) and getting his wings, his services as a heavy bomber instructor pilot were too valuable to risk him overseas bombing the Axis.  Germany's defeat and the consequent drawdown of the air corps's pilot training released Novosel to the Pacific theater.  Assigned as a B-29 Super-fortress command pilot, he got to Tinian just before the Enola Gay took off to end World War II in the skies over Hiroshima.  Following the war he combined careers as an airline pilot and Air Force Reserve officer.  the end of his war story?   Not by a long shot!

Then came the Vietnam War.   Applying for active duty, Novosel discovered that the air force was overstaffed with senior officers and no flying jobs available for 41-year-old reserve lieutenant colonels.  Perhaps the army, which was frantically trying to build up a virtual air force of helicopters from almost nothing, could use an experienced instructor pilot who was rotary-wing qualified to train young soldiers to fly.  Excellent plan!  The army said yes.  Surprisingly, however, the army decided that flying dustoffs (medevac) in Vietnam was the job for this seasoned aviator.  Two tours later (during his second tour he and his son were flying dustoffs in the same unit when, within the span of a week, each was called on to save the other in an emergency combat evacuation), with 2,038 hours of combat flight, 2,345 aerial missions that evacuated 5,589 wounded, and a Congressional Medal of Honor, we have the rest of Mike Novosel's story.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

 Mike_1.gif (2036546 bytes)  Mike_4.gif (827796 bytes)  Mike_3.gif (719906 bytes)  Mike_2.gif (1163594 bytes)

Medal of Honor recipient Michael Novosel dead at 83

Associated Press

Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. Novosel, a recipient of the congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam, died Sunday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from illness. He was 83.

His death in Washington, D.C. was announced by Army officials at Fort Rucker, near his home.

Novosel, who became a military aviation cadet at age 19, lived in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., but had been a longtime resident of Enterprise, Ala.

Novosel was awarded the Medal of Honor for an Oct. 2, 1969 helicopter rescue of wounded South Vietnamese soldiers pinned down by a large enemy force. Novosel was wounded as he rescued 29 men, according to a statement Sunday from the Army Aviation Warfighting Center.

"His loss is felt not only by his family and the Army Aviation community, but by all those who knew and loved him," said Brig. Gen. E. J. Sinclair, the center's commander.

A medivac pilot, Novosel served two tours in South Vietnam, flying 2,543 missions in the Bell UH-1 Huey while airlifting nearly 5,600 medical evacuees.

After Vietnam, he served three years at Fort Bragg, N.C., as chief pilot for the Army's Golden Knights parachute team.

At Fort Rucker, he was an author and lecturer at the Warrant Officer Career College, retiring in 1985.

Also a World War II veteran, Novosel was born and raised in Etna, Pa.

Home page for Alabama VVA