Skip to comments.Marine Corps pilot, decorated for heroic efforts in 3 wars, dies in Oregon at 89
Posted on 06/30/2009 8:12:44 AM PDT by xzins
, Marine Corps Capt. Kenneth Reusser and his wingman were flying a mission in the Pacific region during World War II when they came upon a Japanese surveillance plane.
The cold air had frozen the fighters guns, so Reusser tipped his F4U-4 Corsair toward the aircraft, allowing his wingman to rake his propeller across the planes tail. The move downed the enemy plane and would have been a heroic highlight of any military career. But it was just a start for Reusser.
Known as one of the most decorated Marine Corps aviators ever, he died June 20 of natural causes at age 89 in Oregon.
Reusser was awarded 59 medals during his career, including two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts and two Legions of Merit. He retired from the service a colonel, The Associated Press and Oregon media reported.
He was shot down five times during 259 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam at least once in each conflict.
In 1950, Reusser led an attack on a North Korean factory. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire, he dipped down to window level of the facility and saw that it was being used to repair enemy tanks, according to the citation for his second Navy Cross.
He flew to his aircraft carrier to re-arm with rockets and napalm and then returned to destroy the facility, again braving the anti-aircraft fire.
Reussers plane had been damaged and his heavy ordnance was gone, but before returning from the mission, he flew low and pumped his machine guns into a North Korean oil tanker, the citation said.
The tanker exploded, knocking his plane momentarily out of control, but he managed to right it and return to the carrier.
In Vietnam, Reusser flew helicopters and was leading a rescue mission when his Huey was shot down. He was badly wounded and needed skin grafts over 35 percent of his burned body, the AP reported.
Reusser lived in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie. He was born Jan. 27, 1920, the son of a minister, and raced motorcycles to help pay for college and earn a pilots license before WWII.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, he worked for Lockheed Aircraft and the Piasecki Helicopter Corp. and was active in veterans groups.
Wherever these men come from, Lord, send us more of them. In this hour of great national need we need them more than ever.
God bless this man and men like him, I really hope the US has more like him where he came from.
May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternity.
And the media’s still discussing some soprano male singer who bleached his face white, trimmed his nose, slept with little boys and abused drugs.
I doubt they’ll even mention Reusser, but he’s the one who kept them safe while they slept.
Semper fi, you sure could “fly,” RIP!
Semper Fi, Shipmate.
RIP Col Reusser.
We sure need more men like you these days - who understand what selfless service means.
They're out there right now. Major Brian Olier, from my Sunday School class, is right now on his second tour of Iraq. Don't lose heart.
WOW! what a story God Bless and rest in peace.
My son, too, just arrived in Iraq on his 2nd tour.
You add Josh to your prayer list and I’ll add Brian to ours.
Another warrior star shines brightly in the night skies.......
Ever wonder why the media won’t tell the stories of men (and women) like these?
I’ve often thought it was an agenda that didn’t want to elevate the military.
As I get older, I’ve changed my mind. I think it’s jealousy. The jealousy of someone doing nothing directed at those who made a real difference.
Thanks for the ping,
It’s getting to seem like America doesn’t deserve great men like this anymore.
they probably convinced MJ to take one for the team so folks would be distracted from the real issues. I for one am glad that’s one less child diddler I have to worry about.
Semper Fi to a brother airwinger, RIP!