Charles Clinton Fleek was born on August 28, 1947, in Petersburg. During his school years, he was known in Petersburg as a typical boy who liked to hunt and fish with his friends on the Ohio River. Fleek left school to volunteer with the Petersburg Fire Department. He was drafted by the Army from Cincinnati, Ohio, in January 1968, and was deployed to Vietnam that July. Fleek served in the United States Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division in South Vietnam.
Sergeant Fleek distinguished himself on May 27, 1969, in the Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, while serving as the squad leader for Company C during an ambush operation. The platoon was given an order to withhold fire, because their forces were much smaller than that of the North Vietnamese. The unit was deployed in ambush locations when a large combatant force approached their position. The North Vietnamese sensed the ambush and began to withdraw. In response, Fleek immediately started to fire. He then directed his men to pursue the enemy. Amid this, a North Vietnamese soldier threw a grenade into Fleek’s squad position. When he realized his men had not seen the grenade land amongst them, Fleek shouted a warning and threw himself onto the explosive. Although his position would have allowed him to seek cover, he chose to absorb the blast. His actions saved the lives of eight U.S. soldiers.
For his bravery, President Richard Nixon awarded the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Fleek. The Fleek family traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the Medal of Honor at the White House. Sergeant Fleek was further decorated for his valor during the Vietnam War with a Bronze and a Silver Star, two Commendation Medals, and a Purple Heart. Sergeant Fleek was buried at the Petersburg Cemetery. In dedication to his legacy, a section of Kentucky Route 20 in Petersburg is known as the Sergeant Charles “Chalkie” Fleek Memorial Highway. The Boone County Administration Building is dedicated in his name to ensure his heroic actions live on and future generations recognize this Boone County hero.
Marker #2604 was dedicated in 2019. It reads: Charles Clinton Fleek (1947-1969). Sergeant Charles Clinton “Chalkie” Fleek was born on August 28, 1947 in Petersburg, KY. He served in the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division in South Vietnam and is the only Medal of Honor recipient from Boone County. Fleek was decorated for his valor, receiving Bronze and Silver Stars, 2 commendation medals and a Purple Heart.
(Reverse) Medal of Honor Recipient. On May 27, 1969, in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, a North Vietnamese Army soldier threw a grenade into Fleek’s squad position. He threw himself onto the grenade, absorbing its blast & saving 8 U.S. soldiers. Fleek was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon on February 16, 1971. Kentucky Veterans Trust Fund.