Surrounded by family, Michael “Mike” J. Novosel, Jr., Age 60, peacefully passed away at his home in Shalimar on Thursday night, Dec. 10, 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer a month earlier. Mike, Jr. was born on Nov. 19, 1949 to Michael and Ethel Novosel, who are both deceased.
Mike, Jr. is the only pilot to fly in the same helicopter unit with his father in combat! He grew up around pilots and aircraft. As a teenager, he took every opportunity to be down on the flight line. In 1968, at the peak of the war in Southeast Asia, he was graduated from high school in North Carolina and, at 19, enlisted in the Army. After basic training, he reported to Fort Walters, Texas, for flight school and trained in the same flight in which his father had served as a contract instructor earlier.
Mike, Jr. was graduated, received appointment to warrant officer one, and earned his wings on Dec. 15, 1969. It was exactly 27 years after his father had earned his wings! He volunteered for duty in Vietnam and, when he arrived, requested assignment to the 82nd Medical Detachment. With his father’s approval, he joined the unit. His father gave him a “dollar ride,” an auto-rotation check, an “in-country” flight evaluation, and then cleared Mike, Jr. to fly the Bell UH-1 “Huey.” The two Novosels suspended a normal father-son relationship for the next few months, but, when Mike, Sr. completed his tour, his son flew him to the departure processing base. In July 1970, Mike, Jr. became an aircraft commander and inherited his father’s call sign, “DUSTOFF 88.”
In a year tour, he flew 1,736 missions, earned 37 air medals, and rescued more than 2,500 allied airmen, sailors, and soldiers. He returned to the States as a chief warrant officer (CWO-2), married Margaret in 1971, and was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. After serving at Pusan, Korea, he flew the “Huey” and the Bell OH-58 Kiowa with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas. Posted to Fort Rucker, Ala., Mike, Jr. earned an associate degree in Aviation Safety and then went to the 377th Medical Detachment at Camp Walker, Korea. In 1981, he returned to Fort Rucker as a flight instructor and earned a degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Next, he was Aviation Safety Officer for 2nd Infantry Division in Korea and then became a classroom teacher and instructor pilot back at Fort Rucker. After assignment to the 12th Aviation Brigade in Germany, Mike’s final duty was Installation Safety Officer at Fort Bragg; he retired as a CWO-4 in 1991 with over 5,500 flying hours. In a varied second career, he flew spotting missions for fishing fleets in the south Pacific, crop dusted, and hauled timber. In 1991, Mike flew support for offshore oil exploration and drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. With almost 11,000 hours, he piloted the Bell 407, a state-of-the-art machine, for Air Logistics and later extended his wings to helping fellow veterans.
In 2008, Mike, Jr. started The Novosel Foundation to provide immediate aid to Wounded Warriors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Novosel Foundation in memory of the two Novosel men who faithfully served their God and country.