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Charles H. Pitman facts for kids

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Charles H. Pitman
Nickname(s) Chuck
Born (1935-10-20)20 October 1935
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died 13 February 2020(2020-02-13) (aged 84)
Fort Worth, TX, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1955–1990
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21
Marine Aircraft Group 36
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (4)
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart

Charles Henry Pitman Sr. (20 October 1935 – 13 February 2020) was a lieutenant general in the United States Marine Corps who served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation. He was also involved in the 1980 Operation Eagle Claw. Pitman retired in 1990 and died of cancer in 2020.

1973 shooting

..... Lt. Colonel Pitman commandeered a CH-46 military helicopter to assist police, conducting landings near the hotel to transport armed officers, and conducting numerous strafing runs over the roof of the hotel, in which the officers inside the helicopter and Essex exchanged many rounds over many hours. Shortly before 9 p.m., after all negotiation and communication tactics had failed, and after spending almost seven hours crouched in the cubicle, Essex suddenly charged into the open with his rifle at waist height and his right fist aloft, shouting "Come and get me!" before being almost immediately shot by police sharpshooters positioned on the roofs of adjacent buildings. Pitman's helicopter, which had just approached to begin another strafing operation, also fired scores of rounds into Essex's body. The momentum of the bullets propelled his vertical body several feet before Essex fell on his back approximately twenty feet from the cubicle, having failed to kill or wound any further officers in this final act. The barrage of gunfire would continue for almost four minutes. An autopsy later revealed Essex had received more than 200 gunshot wounds.

Shooting aftermath

The United States Marine Corps considered a court-martial for Charles Pitman for taking the helicopter without prior approval. However, New Orleans-based Representative Edward Herbert, then chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recommended the issue be dropped.

Moon Landrieu, then mayor of New Orleans, has stated recently, "Without that helicopter and without his piloting, it would've been a lot worse." "The city owes him a debt of gratitude."

Antoine Saacks, a former police officer who boarded Pitman's helicopter that day, said, "I always say the true heroes were Chuck and his crew, undoubtedly. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man that's unwavering."

See also

  • Mark Essex
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