By lex, on June 29th, 2009
What with all the celebrity passings last week, the news that the most decorated Marine aviator in history passed away last week might have escaped your notice. Colonel Ken Reusser, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, a man with 363 combat missions, and 59 medals – including two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 19 Air Medals – passed into the clearing ** at the end of the path on 20 June 2009, age 89.
In one of his more celebrated missions, Reusser stripped down his F-4U Corsair in order to attack a high altitude Japanese reconnaissance plane that was taking photographs for follow-on kamikaze attacks. When his guns froze at altitude, Reusser and his wingman attacked the recon bird with their propellers, sending it down.
In his final flight over Vietnam, Reusser was directing a search and rescue effort when he was shot down and severely wounded. He was medically retired in 1968.
No elected official attended his funeral ceremony.
** 09-07-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.