Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Joseph Novosel Sr. is a highly decorated and respected military aviator. Born in Pennsylvania in 1922, Novosel joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 to further his education and give back to the United States. He initially wanted to work on aircraft but was convinced by his fellow soldiers to apply for the Air Corps cadet program. Novosel was accepted despite being slightly under the required height.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Novosel and his fellow cadets were fast-tracked to flight school. However, instead of being sent to the front lines after graduation, he served as a B-24 Liberator instructor in Texas. Novosel gained valuable flight time and experience there. He later joined the B-29 Superfortress program and flew combat missions in the Pacific during World War II.
Novosel transitioned into the newly formed Air Force in 1947 and returned to the United States. He continued his military career, serving in non-combat roles during the Korean War and the Air Force Reserve. Novosel also worked as a commercial airline pilot but faced potential blindness due to glaucoma. In 1963, he rejoined the active-duty military to share his knowledge with young aviators.
In 1964, Novosel joined the Army to assist in its need for combat helicopter pilots. Despite his 20 years of military flying experience, he had to obtain a new official aeronautical rating. He quickly adapted and became an Army aviator. Novosel was assigned to the 283rd Medical Detachment, an aeromedical evacuation unit known as “Dustoff,” in Vietnam.
Novosel’s extensive instrument flight experience was invaluable for medevac missions, especially in severe weather conditions. He taught this skill to many younger pilots in his unit. Novosel’s leadership and experience earned the trust of his fellow soldiers. Dustoff units faced significant dangers, resulting in the loss of many pilots.
After his first deployment to Vietnam, Novosel voluntarily returned in 1969. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his military career, including the Medal of Honor. His bravery and service to his country are remembered, and he recently became the namesake of a military base.
– Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Joseph Novosel Sr. (U.S. Army Aviation Museum)
– Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator by Michael J. Novosel Sr.