Bio: Strebel, Charles A. - Sgt. (Bronze Star - 2016)
Transcriber: Robert Lipprandt
Surnames: Fait, Strebel
----Source: The Star News (Medford, WI) 8/18/2016
August 11, 2016 -- by Reporter Brandon Fait
The date was July 14, 1951. Sergeant Charles A. Strebel, a 20 year old from Chicago, was in South Korea serving for the United States in the Korean War. Strebel was a radio operator for the United States Marine Corps. At the time, Strebel was in his normal position with the artillery battery.
Seconds later, the battery came under an intense and accurate enemy barrage.
“We got shelled,” Strebel said. “The commanding officer said ‘Get the Jeep and go’ so I grabbed the jeep and started hauling out the wounded and took them to the first aid station.”
On two separate occasions, Strebel went in to save the wounded. With complete disregard for his personal safety and exposing himself to enemy fire, Strebel was able to save the lives of many and was also able to help give first aid to those who needed it.
For his bravery and heroic actions on that day, Strebel was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in Korea.
“As far as I’m concerned, I just did as I was told,” Strebel said.
When Strebel received his medal, he was able to retrieve his seabag and placed his medal in the seabag, thinking it was the best place for the medal. Little did he know that he would never see his Bronze Star Medal again.
Usually, a marine’s seabag goes home with the marine when his tour of duty is completed.
However, in Strebel’s case, he switched return dates with a fellow radio operator and never saw the bag again.
“I let another person go home in my place,” Strebel said. “It was for personal reasons but I felt that it was better that I was there than him.”
After serving approximately 14 months in Korea, Strebel finally returned home to the states in October of 1951. He ultimately served in the marine corps for just shy of nine years, achieving the rank of staff sergeant.
Throughout the next 65 years, Strebel wondered if he would ever get his Bronze Star Medal back. In 2008, Strebel moved to Rib Lake and would eventually become a member of the American Legion.
On August 3 Taylor County Veteran Services Officer Jeff Hein presented Strebel with his long lost Bronze Star Medal. It took Hein over a year to obtain the medal for Strebel.
“It’s quite a feeling to finally receive it because I know I earned it,” Strebel said. “This night means a lot because Jeff did a lot of work getting me the medal. I will put all my medals together and they will go down to my children.”
Strebel has also earned many other medals to go along with this Bronze Star. He has earned the Korean Service Medal with one silver service star and one bronze star, indicating participation in 6 campaigns of the Korean War. He has earned the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with one bronze service star.
“I am proud to have served,” Strebel said. “I enlisted because this is my country and I don’t want anything to happen to my country. No other one in the world is like this country. I want to make sure it stays this way and if I had to live my life over again, I would do it all over again.”
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