Honor Series: William R. Charette

by Ed Sealy


As I enter the last week of writing articles for our MURPH series, I found it somewhat challenging to find the right person to highlight.

I am not an incredibly competitive person at this stage in my life, but I almost felt like I was trying to keep building up each article to be better than the last.

So this morning, I stopped and reflected on that thought and realized that no single article written so far is any better or worse than the last. But each on has been its own amazing journey to write and share with you. All of the people and organizations that have been highlighted have been an inspiration and I have been honored to help bring their stories of heroism, courage, and leadership back to the forefront of our minds as we Honor some of the bravest of the brave.

Today’s feature is just another example of all of those traits.
Today we look at Hospital Corpsman Third Class, William R. Charette.


My grandfather was in the Air Force and served in Korean War. He didn’t talk much about his service, in fact I’m not really sure what role he played. But when he told stories of valor and bravery they almost always were of the medics in the field or the pilots of the medivacs that routinely risked their lives, often times without weapons, to administer aid to the fallen and return our wounded back to safety.

This is one of those stories…

From his Citation for the Medal of Honor for Hospital Corpsman Third Class, William R. Charette received from service during the Korean War:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces during the early morning hours. Participating in a fierce encounter with a cleverly concealed and well-entrenched enemy force occupying positions on a vital and bitterly contested outpost far in advance of the main line of resistance, Charette repeatedly and unhesitatingly moved about through a murderous barrage of hostile small-arms and mortar fire to render assistance to his wounded comrades. When an enemy grenade landed within a few feet of a Marine he was attending, he immediately threw himself upon the stricken man and absorbed the entire concussion of the deadly missile with his body. Although sustaining painful facial wounds, and undergoing shock from the intensity of the blast which ripped the helmet and medical aid kit from his person, Charette resourcefully improvised emergency bandages by tearing off part of his clothing, and gallantly continued to administer medical aid to the wounded in his own unit and to those in adjacent platoon areas as well. Observing a seriously wounded comrade whose armored vest had been torn from his body by the blast from an exploding shell, he selflessly removed his own battle vest and placed it upon the helpless man although fully aware of the added jeopardy to himself. Moving to the side of another casualty who was suffering excruciating pain from a serious leg wound, Charette stood upright in the trench line and exposed himself to a deadly hail of enemy fire in order to lend more effective aid to the victim and to alleviate his anguish while being removed to a position of safety. By his indomitable courage and inspiring efforts in behalf of his wounded comrades, Charette was directly responsible for saving many lives. His great personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”

I don’t know a lot of the life stories or complete service records of any of the Medal of Honor winners. So, I don’t know if every moment of their service was held in such high regard as the moments where they earned their Citations. And I would never try to disparage anyone who has served. But I do know one thing… the medics of our military are faced with making these types of decisions almost every day of their service and see the horrors of war firsthand more than any other. These are a special breed of individual and I can only hope that as I move forward, I can live my life with the same level of honor and service to others.

With that in mind, I encourage all of you to do the same. Start with small decisions. Maybe register for the MURPH Challenge which will toss a few bucks at a great charity and score you a sweet shirt. Try to help those around you whenever you can and when you are working out and you reach your wall, use you last ounce of energy to form words to encourage those around you to get that next rep. You’ll be surprised at what happens next!

Thank you all for your time today and continue to live awesomer!!

To Register for The Murph Challenge: www.themurphchallenge.com
For William Charette’s Citation: http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3093/charette-william-r.php

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