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POSTED ON 12.30.2022
POSTED BY: John Fabris

honoring you...

Thank you for your service to our country so long ago sir. The remembrance from your sister Janice is moving and reflects her eternal love for you. As long as you are remembered you will remain in our hearts forever….
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POSTED ON 11.5.2019
POSTED BY: Victor Oakes

Crew Chief brother

I was with you that day. We spoke of our families. I held you, borne onto my helicopter, to carry you away from this place.
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POSTED ON 8.14.2019
POSTED BY: Lucy Micik

Thank You

Dear Sp4 Carl Huttula, Thank you for your service as an Armor Reconnaissance Specialist with the 1st Cavalry. Your 72nd birthday is in days, happy birthday. Saying thank you isn't enough, but it is from the heart. Please watch over America, it stills needs your strength, courage and faithfulness. Rest in peace with the angels.
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POSTED ON 5.20.2016
POSTED BY: Curt Carter [email protected]

Remembering An American Hero

Dear SP4 Carl Richard Huttula, sir

As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

With respect, Sir

Curt Carter
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POSTED ON 11.29.2014
POSTED BY: janna Hoehn

Salute to Carl Huttula

For: Carl Richard Huttula
Our Hero is our brother and son, Carl R. Huttula. He was killed on May 16, 1968 in VietNam. Carl was awarded the Silver Star, posthumously. He earned this award – in the words of Carl’s citation:
For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force: Specialist Four Huttula distinguished himself while serving as an observer on an OH-6A Scout helicopter. His mission was an aerial reconnaissance near Moc Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, to pinpoint enemy locations. The scout team located a possible enemy stronghold and a special infantry force was airlifted into the area for a search and destroy operation. The infantry became pinned down by intense automatic weapons fire from three sides of their position. An American advisor was seriously wounded and in need of immediate medical evacuation. An OH-6A was sent to evacuate him and as the helicopter was about to take off, it came under intense ground fire and crashed. Specialist Four Huttula’s aircraft landed near the downed helicopter. Despite the enemy automatic weapons fire, he leaped from his aircraft and ran across the field to help the injured crew. While assisting the injured crew back to his aircraft, Specialist Huttula was mortally wounded. Through his courage and personal bravery, he was directly responsible for saving the lives of the downed crew. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Additional details of Carl’s story are best told by his fellow soldiers. First, in the words of Gary Holmes – the pilot of Carl’s observation helicopter. This letter was written to my parents, Elizabeth and Blake Huttula, on Oct. 23, 1968. Dear Mr. & Mrs. Huttula, I must first explain the delay in writing this letter. I have written my unit three times attempting to obtain your mailing address. (a letter my parents had sent Gary had just been forwarded to him) I was the pilot of the observation helicopter your son was riding in before he was killed. I now can pass on to you the pride I have for your son, and if you have the address of Mrs. Thorne, for her son also. I have much to say and yet now, I seem lost for words.

I was with your son many times before our ill fated flight, I don’t mean around base camp, but rather, as we would fly missions into combat areas. I was one of the first to instruct Carl about the technique of flying the L.O.H. In fact, the morning of our loss, your son had flown from Vinh Long to Moc Hoa. I had the position of wing man for the Scout platoon leader, Captain Serletic. It was decided we would depart Moc Hoa about 10 a.m. for the battle area and relieve the scout team already on station. Upon arrival we found the area heavily infested with VC The friendly forces began taking casualities shortly after they had been set on the ground. It became apparent the friendly forces were in a horse shoe shaped trap. The order was issued to withdraw and since everyone knew where the V.C. were, the scouts were not needed, so we circled the area watching for reinforcements that might be slipping into the area. Carl and I found one V.C. near a canal, as we made a gun run on him, the mini-gun jammed. I relayed this information to the platoon leader and since I could not afford protection with the gun jammed, we moved out a little further.
We both (Carl and I) agreed this was the hottest L.Z. we had been in. It looked like the scouts wouldn’t be needed again and our stomachs were starting to untie when an American advisor on the ground was hit. Being Scouts, this was our secondary mission. Our Cavalry unit did not have a med evac. ship attached, so LOH’s were used for quick extractions. Captain Serletic went in for the pick up, Carl and I skidded left and right, about 50 feet above and behind him, in an attempt to bluff the V.C. As the Captain’s LOH lifted out, it rolled over. I radioed we had a ship down and we dropped into help. Carl, upon his hearing me call that we were going in, was preparing to leave our ship even before I made contact with the ground. I turned our ship so I could see the other ship. As we landed, Captain Serletic and the wounded soldier crawled out the right side and into a ditch. Thorne crawled out from the left.
Carl, I am sure beyond any shadow of a doubt, saved Thorne’s life, as Thorne crawled from under the ship he headed straight towards the thrashing, rotating main rotor blades. Your son ran towards him, got his attention and helped him towards our ship. Carl then ran towards the ditch where the Captain was. I saw Carl fall and I prayed he had only fallen. I wasn’t until almost two weeks later that I learned he had been killed. Until this time I still hadn’t been hit. I was still waiting for Carl and the Captain to make a run for the ship. Thorne, who had strapped himself in the observer seat was hollering “Let’s go, Sir”. Then I was hit. I immediately lost control of my right arm and became sick with pain. I decided it was time to depart (along with Thorne’s help) and after re-checking once more on the Captain and Carl, we pulled pitch. I passed out, and after crashing later, was taken, along with Thorne, to Moc Hoa.
I was proud of Carl when we landed. He went to help someone else, on his own, and I thought to myself, “There goes one hell of a good soldier”. Mr. & Mrs. Huttula, I say this with pride, I knew your son. I saw him in action when fear was so strong it would have stopped most men. He died attempting to save all three soldiers. He is and always will be, in my book, a soldier, an American, but above all, a man. The Silver Star is only one way we can explain how proud a unit is about a man. Only brave men are presented this award. It is such a small tribute for his outstanding actions. I know the unit would have given more if possible. I was hit after Carl left the ship. I know he would not have left me had I been hurt. The only conversation we had was just after I called Major Jinks to say we were going in. I told Carl, “Well, here goes nothing”. He looked over and gave the thumbs up sign (in aviation it means, all is clear or good luck). I only wish there was something else I could say, but at the time we didn’t have much time to talk. You asked about the third man in the ships. This policy was abandoned shortly after we arrived in the country because of excess weight. I am a career soldier with 11 years of service. My flying days might be over because of a locked shoulder, but there are other jobs in the service. My family and I would be more than happy to visit you if we ever return to the Washington area. Your town sounded as proud of Carl as I am. I wish I could have attended the funeral, but it was impossible, because of my condition. I must close now. Not from lack of words, but I feel at the present time there is nothing I could add. If I have failed to answer any questions, please do not hesitate to write. My deepest respect to you all, Gary
My parents did write Gary Holmes back, with great appreciation for such clear details of Carl’s heroism. Then in the winter of 2006, Gary Holmes published an article in a Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association magazine called the VHPA AVIATOR (Winter 2006 Vol 24, No.5) His article, entitled “Rest of story, LOH pilot tracks down veterans who saved him” retold this long story with much broader detail. Gary did indeed return to flight status. Quoting from his article… Several doctors told me I would never fly again. It took me 14 months of rehabilitation and three years of physical therapy, but I proved them wrong. After I regained my flight status, I returned to VietNam for a second tour in 1972-73, as a scout pilot and a maintenance officer. (Further, in Gary’s article, he speaks of the moment he and Carl landed to assist the downed aircraft). As I landed, the wounded Special Forces sergeant crawled out the back of lead’s crashed LOH and straight into the tail rotor, which threw him into the air. The observer started to crawl over the berm – and nearly into what’s left of the still-turning main rotor – when he saw me and started crawling in my direction. My observer (Carl) could see the sergeant was in bad shape and left our LOH to help him. He was killed instantly. When I was well enough to do so, I contacted the parents of PFC Huttula and explained to them how he died and how proud I was of him for the action he took trying to help the wounded sergeant. They were very grateful I contacted them.
This article was given to our family by a Seattle resident who recognized the “Huttula” name, from a small town of Elma, in Western Washington. This article renewed contact between our family and Gary Holmes, who now lives in Georgia. In fact, I just called him this morning to get permission to use his letter of Oct. 23, 1968, as part of “my brother’s story”. He not only gave me his permission, but said more wonderful things about Carl – stating that the “team of friendship and loyalty fellow soldiers have is something most do not understand”. He also mentioned that their unit was a new unit (3 1/2 months old) and as far as he knew, Carl was the first soldier to be given the Silver Star Award, in their unit. In Gary’s words, any soldier who leaves his ship to save lives deserves the highest of Awards. When the Sergeant of the downed aircraft visited Gary in the hospital, Gary told me that he recommended the Medal of Honor be awarded to Carl. I have one last quotation, for this story, this one is from Gene Huntzinger, Carl’s Squadron Chaplain. In his letter to us, dated June 6, 1968 he said: Carl demonstrated in his life and death a quality of character that is paralleled by few. The manner in which he gave his life illustrated his devotion to duty. While assisting others and attempting to save their lives, his life was taken. No man can do more. Only the elite possess such dedication and devotion to others. His heroism, dedication and sacrifice will continue to inspire the men with whom he served. Because of his dedication many others will have a sense of mission and purpose.
We lost Carl on May 16, 1968, Carl wrote several of us letters on May 13th, which we received the day after learning of his death. One letter concluded, in Carl’s words: “You know, every day I am amazed I’ve made it this far. No way anybody’s gonna stop me now. Love, Carl” We miss Carl greatly. We are so happy that he saved lives and that he left us with this last positive message. Carl left behind a large family. His parents, Elizabeth and Blake are still living. Carl was the oldest child of our family. He had one younger brother, Tom, and three sisters – Janice (myself), Catherine and Mary. He now has one niece and eight nephews. His Valor through bravery and heroism will be with us forever.
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