Kenneth Richard Buell

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
24 August 1939 - 23 March 1978
Kankakee, Illinois
Panel 01W Line 073



Naval Flight Officer

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Antarctic Service, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
L-R, Ken Russell, Ken Buell, Mary Buell

CDR Ken Russell, LCDR Ken Buell, Mary Buell

The database page for Kenneth Richard Buell

24 May 2001

Ken was a graduate of the Naval Academy and he and I served together in VA-35 1970 - 1972. We had a lot of common interests, our kids were about the same age and we became great friends. Ken was an outstanding A-6 Bombardier Navigator and that is why he was flying with Commander Verne Donnelly, Commanding Officer of VA-35 when they were shot down. I will never forget the day I received the news of their loss. Both were good friends and squadron mates. I wear Ken's bracelet to this day and will continue to do so until he comes home. I would give about anything for one more night of liberty with these two. Maybe later!!

From a friend,
Michael J Munson
1623 Cold Springs Rd, Weatherford, Tx 76088

The photo shows LCDR Ken Buell getting his oak leaves pinned on by
Ken Russell and Mary Buell. Courtesy Mike Munson

26 Apr 2005

The U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1963 honors Ken Buell and the other twelve fallen classmates on the Wall at its website. Please visit "Last Call".

From a friend and classmate at USNA,
Stephen Coester
USNA63 Webmaster

10 Mar 2006

Ken and I were classmates at the Academy and we went through Naval Flight Officer training together and we both got our wings in Corpus Christi. We were both sent to Argentia, Newfoundland and assigned to VW-13 as Navigators. We deployed to Iceland for two years and our wives eventually joined us in Newfoundland. Ken and Mary were accomplished bridge players and we had a lot of fun together. After the squadron was decomissioned Ken went to Antarctica support and I went to the Vigilante program.

I ran into Ken in San Francisco when I was waiting to join the USS ENTERPRISE and Ken was waiting for enough tailwind to get a C-47 across the pond. We had a great two or three days of liberty together before we parted company.

I was dumbfounded when I heard about Ken's shootdown, as originally it was dated a month or so after cessation of hostilities. I am afraid that Ken suffered the same fate as another classmate and A-6 Bombardier (Kelly Patterson) and the North Vietnamese turned them over to the Russians for "debriefing" as they had the most knowledge of the air defense systems.

I still have Ken and Kelly's bracelets and will take them to the grave with me. I miss them both!

From a classmate, squadronmate and friend,
Peter Carrothers

31 Jul 2006

- Buell family update -

The Missing Persons Branch at the Department of Naval Personnel released a site team survey for Dad's case number 1924. Eye-witness accounts and several site visits and surveys near Hai Duong (ENE of Hanoi) yielded enough data to give the green light for a team to excavate the site for possible remains or any evidence to corroborate the site with the A6A lost that fateful evening of 17 Sep 1972.

They are targeting Nov/Dec 2006 for the dig following the end of the rainy season. We all hope this is the year we get closure on his loss. More to follow as it becomes available.

Dad has 4 grandchildren now. My own son Evan is nearly 8 and my daughter Alexis is 10. My sister Susan has two children, Aidan and Trinity.


From his son,
CDR (Sel) Richard C. Buell

09 Dec 2006

Addendum to Case 1924 progress-

It is very frustrating to report that the planned recovery of the suspected crash site was delayed until next year. After many questions to the Missing Persons branch relayed to JPAC, the news came that the number of recoveries planned for this year had been reduced by the government of Vietnam due to the pending APEC meeting hosted in Hanoi. The family was upset by the news having been so seemingly close to closure after 34 years. Perhaps 2007 will be kinder to us. Until then, we will not falter or give up. If anything our drive is renewed.

Happy holidays to all and thanks for remembering Dad.


From his son,
Rick Buell

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On September 17, 1972, CDR Verne G. Donnelly, pilot, and LCDR Kenneth R. Buell, B/N, launched from the USS AMERICA (CVA-66) in A-6A BuNo 157028 on an armed recon mission targeted near Hai Duong, North Vietnam. As the aircraft was about eight miles west of that city, it went down. Both crewmen were declared Missing in Action.

Neither was acknowledged by the North Vietnamese as captured, and they did not return in the POW release of 1973. On 05 Feb 1991, the U.S. announced that remains returned by the Vietnamese had been positively identified as those of Verne G. Donnelly; after 25 years, he was finally home. As of 31 July 2006, Ken Buell still is missing.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his son,
Richard C. Buell

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 May 2001
Last updated 01/18/2007