Kenneth L. Reusser

Recipient of THE NAVY CROSS

Kenneth L. Reusser was the first Korean War Marine Aviator decorated for gallantry. He served with Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-214, known as the “Black Sheep” Squadron, attached to the USS Sicily. On August 5, 1950, Reusser led four Vought F4U Corsairs on a low level attack in the Inchon Area. Sustaining heavy damage to his aircraft, he returned to the ship for repairs and rearmament. Despite more heavy ground fire, he made his way back, destroying an oil storage facility. With only his 20mm gun left, Reusser then successfully exploded a camouflaged oil tanker, almost blowing himself out of the air.

Reusser flew a total of 253 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, earning 56 medals, including the Navy Cross with one Gold Star and the Purple Heart with three Gold Stars. He is the only aviator to survive being shot down in all three wars—five times in all.