Having spent over five years in the Marines, 86-year-old Korean War veteran Mike Kavanaugh, along with fellow veterans at The Bellettini in Bellevue, will be honored by Mayor John Stokes in a pinning ceremony this Saturday, Nov. 11.
Kavanaugh, who thought he’d grow up to be a professional baseball player, found himself instead enlisting in the Marines at age 16 where he was stationed in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. Having held multiple leadership positions, he fought his way out of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir where he was surrounded by 142,000 Chinese military personnel and left in a ditch for two weeks in 35 degree temperature.
From that experience, Kavanaugh suffered from frost bite which still plagues him today. He was one of the first to successfully complete a military helicopter landing in 1951 and, after the Korean War, became an instructor at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
Kavanaugh has been married to his wife Loraine for nearly 65 years and they have three children, four grandchildren and one great granddaughter.