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Hospital Corpsman Third Class William Charette

Date of Award: January 21, 1954
Conflict: Korean War
Branch: U.S. Navy

Hospital Corpsman Third Class William Charette portraitOn March 27, 1953, the 5th Marines were fighting in Korea to regain Vegas Hill and needed reinforcements. Hospital Corpsman Third Class William Charette’s company moved to the front to help them. At noon, the bitter battle to regain Vegas Hill began. Stubborn enemy resistance prevented the Marines from taking much ground. The lead company had moved further up the hill, but it was taking heavy casualties. Charette took the risk of moving forward to help their overworked corpsmen, defying bullets and exploding grenades all around him.

The Chinese fanatically defended the hill, putting the attackers under constant fire. While Charette worked on a casualty, grenades kept rolling down the hill. One of them landed right next to him and the wounded Marine. He tried to push away the grenade with his medical kit and covered his patient with his body, waiting for the explosion, because he knew this badly wounded man would not survive another injury. The grenade exploded and drove shrapnel deep into Charette’s face, but his patient was saved.

Citation: “Through his indomitable courage and inspiring efforts in behalf of his wounded comrades, he was directly responsible for saving many lives.”

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