Colonel Henry O. Tuell was born 15 March 1945 in Douglas, Arizona, and moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, at age 8. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology. In 1969 he accepted a Regular Army Commission and entered active duty as a Medical Service Corps Officer, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division's 15th Medical Battalion flying evacuation helicopters.
Tuell earned the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action on 22 June 1970 during an evacuation effort. His helicopter came under intense enemy fire. He positioned the aircraft over a small hole in the triple canopy jungle in an attempt to extract wounded soldiers. His aircraft came under heavy enemy fire, wounding Tuell, and knocking out a machine gun on the helicopter. Tuell finally was forced to leave the area. His citation read in part, "his gallant actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the US Army."
After his tour in Vietnam, Tuell continued with an outstanding career as an aviator, commander, and hospital administrator. He served two tours on the Surgeon General's Staff as assignment officer and later chief of the Career Activities Office. He commanded the 63rd Medical Detachment in Germany; 571st Medical Detachment at Fort Carson, Colorado; and the 56th Medical Battalion at Fort Ord, California. He was selected as the first Chief of Staff of the newly formed US Army Medical Command. His final assignment was as the Garrison Commander, Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Tuell is one of the most decorated aviators of the Vietnam era. His military medals and decorations include the Silver Star Medal, two Legion of Merit Medals, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, six Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, and two Army Achievement Medals. In 2011 he was inducted into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame which honors officers and enlisted Army Medical Department personnel, aviation crew members, and others who are or ever were engaged in or actively supported in any capacity by Army Aviation evacuation programs in war or peace.
COL Tuell's awards also include six Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, six Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal, and three Army Commendation Medals.
Since 2007 Tuell has been a Key Volunteer and member of the Board of Directors for the Operation Second Chance, a 501(c)(3) organization supporting combat wounded, injured, or ill veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life. His efforts have made OSC a nationally recognized entity providing mentoring and extensive retreat programs which provide opportunities for veterans and their families to enjoy activities such as fly and salmon fishing, hunting, hiking, horse-back riding, float trips, amputee skiing, and tours through National Parks.