Retired Master Chief Hospital Corpsman William Charette, who received a Medal of Honor for throwing his body on top of a patient during a grenade attack during the Korean War, has died.
Charette, 79, died Sunday morning at his Lake Wales, Fla., according to the Ludington Daily News. His nephew told the paper that Charette had undergone a couple of surgeries in the last six months.
Charette enlisted in the Navy in 1951 and joined Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, which left for Korea in February 1953. It was March 27, 1953, during the Chinese attack on Marine outpost Vegas when Charette threw himself over his patient during a grenade attack, absorbing the blast with his own body, according to the Military Times Hall of Valor.
In separate instances, Charette removed his battle vest to put on a patient, tore parts of his uniform to dress battle wounds and stood up in a trench, braving gunfire, to attend to a patient.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the Medal of Honor to Charette in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 12, 1954. He was one of five enlisted sailors to receive the nation’s highest military medal for valor during the Korean War. Charette was the only one living of the five.
In 1958, Charette received the honor of representing Korea War vets in selecting World War II remains to be placed in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, according to the Marine Corps History Division.