LTC E. D. French made his last flight on 21 June 2013. My father was a true war hero but also a hero in peace time. As far as my sisters and I are concerned, not just our father but all medevac pilots and crewmembers should be issued the Medal of Honor.
Dad went to high school in Dundee Michigan where he also became an Eagle Scout, then attended Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University where he earned a Bachelors Degree, attained the rank of LTC in ROTC, met and married my mother (Donna Ausum) and started his family of four children.
In 1958 he was commissioned in the US Army Medical Service Corp and left for flight school. He served 23 years – one tour in Korea and two tours in Vietnam. His awards for service are as follows: Master Aviator Wings, Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Star Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, 12 Air Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, US Vietnam Service Medal, Korean Defense Medal, RVN Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and three Unit Citations. His first air medal was the DFC awarded by General Westmoreland, for plucking Moroccans from roof tops as they were being washed away.
Ernest is an American hero. He was a proud member of the Solo Pilots Association, DUSTOFF Association, VFW, the Masons, and the Zion Church of Christ. He retired in 1980 and had a long fun retirement with his third wife Bea.
Around 2001 he was diagnosed with emphysema and dealt with it well for the last 12 year. Combined with other health issues it took his life at the young age of 78.
My dad was a great guy who took great care of everyone he let into his life and was a fair man whose handshake and word was as good as gold. I would love to tell some of his stories of chopping up tree limbs with the rotor blades of his Bell H-13 while plucking wounded rangers from a cliff in Korea or having to hop away from danger in his Huey way over loaded for its power. Thank you dad for the thousands of children, grand children and great grand children who would never have been if not for you and your helicopter. I hope some way they know what was given and from whom. Tim French