Col. James Kasler, ‘Indiana’s Sgt. York,’ was fighter, survivor

You’ve probably never heard of Col. James Helms Kasler. It’s a pity.

Kasler is Indiana’s Sgt. York. Three times Kasler went off to war. Three times he returned home to Indianapolis a hero, and this Memorial Day is an appropriate time to celebrate him.

The Air Force Cross is an award for conspicuous gallantry in combat. It is second only to the Medal of Honor among American military decorations and equivalent to the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross.

There have been 195 recipients of the Air Force Cross. Three men have received the award twice. Kasler alone has earned it three times.

Setting aside recipients of the Medal of Honor, Kasler is the 10th most decorated serviceman in U.S. history. He is No. 1 among Hoosiers, and on April 24, at age 87, he joined what Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg called “our honored dead.”

“The colonel was my mentor and my hero, the most courageous man I’ve ever known,” said John Brodak, his voice flush with feeling. “He was a fierce warrior and a patriot and I’m proud he called me his friend.”

Other Books You Might Be Interested In

Contact Us