Then, after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter determined that Kettles' actions merited the nation's highest military honor, Rep. Debbie Dingell and Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, all of Michigan, introduced legislation waiving a time limitation for the award and paving the way for Obama to make the final decision.

The Army also announced that Kettles will be inducted into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes on July 19, one day after the White House ceremony.

The Army said that despite a heavily damaged helicopter, Kettles was relentless in his efforts to ensure that every soldier was extracted.

On one particular flight out of the landing zone, a machine gun sprayed the helicopter Kettles was flying, but "Maj. Kettles coaxed the helicopter and managed to fly us back to base camp," said Roland J. Scheck, an Army specialist who was serving as a door-gunner on Kettles' crew.

"Kettles personifies the Army's `Warrior Ethos' - never leave any soldier behind," said Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning.