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Date Posted: Sun, March 20 2011, 20:47:47
Author: Ron Boussom
Author Host/IP: 9.sub-75-226-49.myvzw.com / 18.104.22.168
Subject: KIA A1C KENNETH E. BAKER JR., WEATHER OBSERVER, 30WS DET 13, BINH THUY, MAR 22, 1968
My name is Ron Boussom. I'm a writer doing a story about my friend, Kenny Baker, who was stationed at Binh Thuy AFB and killed in the weather observation cab of the control tower Mar 22, 1968. He was scheduled to fly home for 30-day leave on Mar 25 before returning for his 2nd tour. On the day of Mar 21 another observer returned from R&R too tired to work his midnight shift in the weather cab and asked Kenny to take it for him. On Mar 22 at 12:30am, hostile fire broke out. A 75mm recoilless rifle shell struck the AC unit on the side of the cab, exploded through the wall and hit Kenny, causing massive shrapnel wounds to his torso. Men from Det 13 said there were fingerprints in blood on the intercom, indicating an attempt to call for help. Medics retrieved him from the tower to the dispensary within minutes after the attack, but doctors were unable to save his life. His body arrived home intact, but there was a small surgical incision scar at the base of his throat from a tracheotomy, apparently an emergency procedure to try and save him.
A. James Moyers, USAF Historian/Kirtland AFB, NM said medical personnel might have been a small contingent assigned to 632nd Combat Support Group at Binh Thuy. He also thought 9th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron might have been assigned to Binh Thuy at that time and possibly played a part on the night of Kenny's death. I'm trying to find the medical personnel who:
1. Retrieved him from the tower to the dispensary
2. Attended and operated on him in the O.R.
3. Prepared his body for transport to Tan Son Nhut mortuary facility
B. There was an individual who came down to the weather cab from the tower's eagle nest after the attack and found Kenny. That person very likely radioed medics for help. He might have been an air traffic controller from 1880th Communications Squadron that arrived at Binh Thuy Feb 12, 1968. If anybody has any information on the names of the ATC's from the 1880th, or knows what medical unit was operating on base in the early morning hours of Mar 22, 1968 would you please contact me?
C. Kenny's family has a 42 yr old sympathy card signed by eleven members of Det 13. I've found all but two of them:
-Cecil H. McGregor – Forecaster (?) Tech Sergeant or Master Sergeant (?)
-James S. Wernert - AWS Equipment Maintenance (don't know rank)
Am also searching for:
-Bruce Campbell, AWS Observer
-Ron Rider (or Ryder), AWS Observer
Two other men were acquaintances of Kenny's at Binh Thuy, but I'm not sure if they were AWS:
-Ron "Frenchy" French
If anybody from Binh Thuy in 1967-1968 remembers any or all of these men and knows where they might be, please contact me. The smallest detail is valuable. I'm writing this for Kenny's family. There are missing pieces of his life and death at Binh Thuy they have wanted to know for 42 years. They knew him in one world but there were parts of him that grew as a result of his experience in Vietnam they'll never have a chance to know. Combing over the past won't bring him back, but knowing the whole truth of it may help bring further closure and greater peace to them in the aftermath of his loss. My heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude to VSPA for providing me the opportunity to post this notice and to those compassionate vets who have responded thus far.
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- Re: KIA A1C KENNETH E. BAKER JR., WEATHER OBSERVER, 30WS DET 13, BINH THUY, MAR 22, 1968 -- Bruce Swander, Mon, March 28 2011, 13:39:04 (fl-71-3-238-66.dhcp.embarqhsd.net/22.214.171.124)
- Re: KIA A1C KENNETH E. BAKER JR., WEATHER OBSERVER, 30WS DET 13, BINH THUY, MAR 22, 1968 -- Andy Joppa (Remember), Fri, February 17 2012, 18:38:17 (c-69-139-52-82.hsd1.fl.comcast.net/126.96.36.199)
- Re: KIA A1C KENNETH E. BAKER JR., WEATHER OBSERVER, 30WS DET 13, BINH THUY, MAR 22, 1968 -- Thomas P. Mason, Jr.,MSgt, USAF - retired (Det 13, 30th Weather, May 66-May 67), Wed, June 25 2014, 13:16:52 (97-106-88-13.res.bhn.net/188.8.131.52)
- Re: KIA A1C KENNETH E. BAKER JR., WEATHER OBSERVER, 30WS DET 13, BINH THUY, MAR 22, 1968 -- Tom Mason, Jr., Wed, October 22 2014, 15:08:05 (97-106-90-150.res.bhn.net/184.108.40.206)
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