MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)– A major in the US Air Force who never returned from combat in Vietnam is being honored Saturday.
Rolling Thunder KY 5 will lay a Wreath in a short ceremony to remember Major Carl Berg Mitchell at the Vietnam War Monument in front of the Courthouse.
“As a community we can never forget about the ones we left behind on the battlefield. Your primary mission at Rolling Thunder is to remember. We are honored that we have the opportunity to bring awareness to the public so they know we will never forget the sacrifice,” said Todd Matonich, a United States Navy Veteran and Board Member at Rolling Thunder, Inc. Kentucky Chapter 5.
The organization provided some background information on Mitchell:
“On 14 January 1964, Major Mitchell with his copilot, Captain Vincent J. Hickman were scrambled at 1800 and instructed to rendezvous with their Forward Air Control for a strike on Viet Cong structures. At 1810, the FAC marked a target with smoke and told them to drop napalm on it. Cully dropped two cans squarely on it. During the pass, the FAC noticed groundfire about 100 meters north of the target. He told CulIy and Vince about it, and Cully answered. “Roger, we’ll come around and hit it.”
Despite heavy machine gun fire, which repeatedly struck his aircraft, Major Mitchell aggressively continued his efforts to locate and destroy the machine gun installations until his badly damaged aircraft crashed and burned. Major Mitchell and Captain Hickman were both posthumously awarded the nation’s second highest medal for valor, the Air Force Cross. Their remains have never been recovered.
The event is slated to begin at 2 p.m.