Koelsch, John Kelvin, LTJG

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1951-1951, 131X, HU-2
Service Years
1942 - 1951
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

55 kb

Home Country
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by PO1 Jeff Frey (Ace) to remember Koelsch, John Kelvin (Jack), LTJG.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
London, England

Casualty Date
Oct 16, 1951
Hostile, Died while Captured
Illness, Disease
Not Specified
Korean War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
section 30, grave 1123-RH, Map Grid V/U 36.5

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Medal of Honor RecipientsKorean War Fallen
  2015, Medal of Honor Recipients [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2015, Korean War Fallen

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings
Command at Sea

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FLNAS Fort LauderdaleNAS NorfolkUS Navy
VT-18HU-1USS Princeton (CV-37)HU-2
  1942-1943, 139X, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1943-1944, 131X, NAS Fort Lauderdale
  1944-1946, 131X, NAS Norfolk
  1947-1948, 131X, VC-15
  1948-1949, 131X, VT-97
  1949-1950, 131X, VT-18
  1950-1951, 131X, HU-1
  1950-1951, 131X, USS Princeton (CV-37)
  1951-1951, 131X, HU-2
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1950-1953 Korean War
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On 3 July 1951, while attempting to rescue an injured flyer, his helicopter was hit by enemy gunfire and crashed. Koelsch, his crewman and the rescued pilot survived the crash and hid from the surrounding enemy for nine days before they were captured. As a prisoner of war, Lt(jg) Koelsch exhibited great bravery and inspired his companions with his "fortitude and consideration for others". He died of malnutrition and dysentery while a captive on 16 October 1951. In August 1955, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) John Kelvin Koelsch was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his Korean War heroism.

John Kelvin Koelsch joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as an aviation cadet on September 14, 1942, and was commissioned as an ensign on October 23, 1944, after completing flight training. During the next few years, he served at Naval Air Stations at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia, and subsequently flew with Composite Squadron 15 and Torpedo Squadrons 97 and 18. He became an accomplished torpedo bomber pilot, and was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on August 1, 1946.

After the outbreak of the Korean War, he joined Helicopter Squadron 1 (HU-1) at Miramar, California, in August 1950. As Officer in Charge of a helicopter detachment, he joined USS Princeton in October for pilot rescue duty off the eastern coast of Korea. He served in Princeton until June 1951, when he joined Helicopter Squadron 2 (HU-2) for pilot rescue duty off Wonsan, Korea, then under naval blockade. He provided lifeguard duty for pilots who were downed either in coastal waters or over enemy-held territory. On June 22, he rescued a naval aviator from the waters of Wonsan Harbor, southeast of Yo Do Island.

-Namesake for the USS Koelsch (DE-1049/FF-1049)
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