Navy to name a destroyer after William Charette

March 21, 2019

Ludington Native William Charette has received many honors for his service to the country.

On Monday, he was once again honored posthumously for his actions in the Korean War that earned him the Medal of Honor. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced in a statement that a new destroyer will be named after Charette.

“The future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer William Charette (DDG-130) will honor a hospital corpsman awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War. Master Chief William Charette joined the Navy in 1951 and served in Korea as a hospital corpsman attached to Company F, Third Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Division,” he wrote in a statement. “The actions of Hospital Corpsman William Charette will neither be forgotten or diminished. Charette put himself at extreme risk during intense combat to render aid to Marines in need. His efforts saved lives, and I am honored that his legacy will live on in the future USS William Charette (DDG-130).”

Charette received the Medal of Honor in Washington, D.C., from President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Jan. 12, 1954. He was one of five enlisted sailors to receive the nation’s highest award for military valor during the Korean War. All were hospital corpsmen serving with the Marines.

He continued his service with the U. S. Navy, training new hospital corpsmen at the Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes.

In 1958, aboard the USS Canberra, he had the honor of selecting the World War II remains that would be placed in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. He eventually moved into the Submarine Force, becoming one of the first hospital corpsmen to serve on nuclear submarines. After 26 years of service, he retired as a master chief hospital corpsman in 1977.

“We are very proud and honored,” Tom Ezdebski, Charette’s nephew, said Wednesday after hearing the news on social media Tuesday. “I think he himself would be honored but embarrassed. That is just the type of person that he was.”

Ezdebski said that he and his family would love to attend the christening of the ship when that time comes. The ship is being built in Maine.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, HMCM Charette’s other decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. In the late 1990s, the Charette Health Care Facility was opened at the Navel Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia.

A mural of Charette was painted on the corner of Filer and James streets in downtown Ludington, and a bronze bust of Charette was sculpted and placed in the center circle of the Veterans Memorial located in Stearns Park.