Retired Marine Corps Col. Kenneth L. Reusser, 89, a highly decorated aviator who was shot down in three wars, died June 20. He lived in the Portland, Ore., suburb of Milwaukie.
Col. Reusser flew 253 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He was shot down in all three, five times in all.
His 59 medals included two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts, and two Legions of Merit.
In 1945, while based in Okinawa, he stripped down his F4U-4 Corsair fighter and intercepted a Japanese observation plane at high altitude. When his guns froze, he flew his fighter into the observation plane, hacking off its tail with his propeller.
In 1950, he led an attack on a North Korean tank-repair facility at Inchon, then destroyed an oil tanker, almost blowing himself out of the sky.
In Vietnam, he flew helicopters and was leading a rescue mission when his Huey was shot down. He needed skin grafts over 35 percent of his badly burned body. - AP