One of our local hometown heroes, William H. Pitsenbarger, who was a United Stated Air Force Pararescue-man flew on nearly 300 rescue missions during the Vietnam War to aid downed soldiers and pilots. On April 11, 1966, Pitsenbarger was killed aiding and defending his fellow soldiers who were pinned down by an enemy assault.
On Dec. 8, 2000, Pitsenbarger’s father, William F. Pitsenbarger, accepted the Medal of Honor from Secretary of the Air Force Whit Peters on behalf of his son during a ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Pitsenbarger was also posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Those in attendance for the ceremony included battle survivors, hundreds of pararescue airmen, and a congressional representative.
The story of Pitsenbarger’s battle as well as the efforts which lead to him posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor are depected in the 2019 film “The Last Full Measure” staring Jeremy Irvine as Pitsenbarger and directed by Todd Robinson. The film also features an A-list cast including Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson and Peter Fonda.