"Hi Paula, WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an incredible gift you have, pretty emotional right now. These photos of the William Charette bust took my breath away, so am going to take a break and bask in it. Truly in awe."
~ Budde Milan Reed, Veterans Memorial of Ludington, Michigan
Charette served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years as a hospital Corpsman during the Korean War. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 for his tremendous heroism above and beyond the call of duty. He was also awarded the great honor of making the final selection of the World War II Unknown Soldier, now buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
During an intense battle when his platoon was overrun by North Korean soldiers, an enemy grenade landed near Charette and a badly wounded Marine he was aiding. He placed himself on top of the Marine in order to shield him from the explosion, and in so doing, the grenade’s blast tore off Charette’s helmet, destroyed his medical bag and knocked him unconscious. When he awoke, he found his face bleeding from shrapnel wounds and he couldn’t see. He recovered enough to continue to aid Marines in the battle using torn parts of his uniform to dress wounds. In another instance, he removed his battle vest and placed it on another wounded Marine whose vest was destroyed from another explosion. In yet another instance, he attended to five Marines who were wounded in a trench from another explosion, and then stood up in the trench exposing himself to incoming rounds in order to carry the most serious wounded comrade to safety.