Retired Marine Corps Colonel Kenneth L. Reusser has finally completed his final mission at the age of 89.
A native of Oregon, this American warrior was the most decorated Marine aviator in history. He earned 59 medals during his service which included two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts, and two Legions of Merit. Colonel Reusser flew 253 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, was shot down five times in all during his career and walked away each time. The same could not be said for those of his country's enemies he came into contact with:
In 1945, while based in Okinawa, he stripped down his F4U-4 Corsair fighter and intercepted a Japanese observation plane at high altitude. When his guns froze, he flew his fighter into the observation plane, hacking off its tail with his propeller.
In 1950, while serving in the famous "Black Sheep Squadron," the Colonel led an attack on a North Korean tank-repair facility at Inchon, then destroyed an oil tanker, almost blowing himself out of the sky.
In Vietnam, he flew helicopters and was leading a rescue mission when his Huey was shot down. He needed skin grafts over 35 percent of his badly burned body.
Colonel Reusser's friends, family and comrades-in-arms gathered together for a last sendoff at the New Hope Community Church, after which he was laid to rest in Willamette National Cemetery.
Semper Fi and G-d speed, Colonel Reusser. Well done, sir.