354TH TAC FTR SQD, 355TH TAC FTR WING, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
27 January 1923 - 17 August 1979
Panel 22W Line 047
The database page for Harold Kahler
The Tactical Air Command (TAC) Sea Survival course at Homestead AFB, Florida was mandatory for all Air Force aircrews going to Vietnam, and in May 1968 Major Harold "Pappy" Kahler was the ranking officer in my class.
He was older than everybody else in the class, and older than most F-105 pilots. I guess that's why we called him "Pappy". I don't know where he picked up the nickname, but with his graying hair and the grizzled five o'clock shadow he had at the end of each day, the nickname was very appropriate.
I always thought he was from an Air Force Reserve unit, and recently a friend of the Kahler family told me that Pappy was a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard, who was called to active duty during the Korean War and remained on active duty afterward.
In South East Asia, Pappy and I were both assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB). Pappy was in the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, I was in another squadron, the 41st TEWS, at the other end of the flight line.
Every day before we flew, we received an intelligence briefing that included the location of the SAM sites and AAA sites, the level of the MIG threat, and a summary of any aircraft losses the previous day. In June 1969, I was "short" -- almost ready to go home. As I sat in the EB-66 briefing room listening to the briefing before one of my last flights, the intelligence officer said that Pappy's plane had gone down in Laos. He was the last man I knew who was lost before I rotated home.
Around 1:15 in the afternoon on June 14, 1969, Pappy was flying an F-105D, call sign Mantis 02. According the official history of the 355 TFW, he was
Pappy Kahler was a good man. I was a young Lieutenant and he was a senior Major, but that didn't matter to him. He was always friendly. He was old enough to be my father, yet he always treated me like a man. I'm proud to have known him.
I have had his MIA bracelet since probably 1969. I was told about this site and was looking up a friend who was lost in Vietnam and realized I could try and find Harold.
It's great knowing something about this man.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the
I went to see your name on the Wall this week. It hit me as hard as the Wall is scribed. You are real, not just on my wrist. You served and need to come home to your family and America. I am no one you know, but I know you from the MIA wrist band.
You are no longer a wrist band, but a person who served this country faithfully.
Please Mr. President, bring him back home.
Even though I never met him he is my hero. He is my great uncle and I will always look up to him.
From his niece.
Notes from The Virtual WallAs noted above, on 14 June 1969 Major Kahler was flying wingman in F-105D tail number 60-5381 on a strike mission against the Ho Chi Minh Trail when he went down. Both the POW Network and Task Force Omega report that a ground team was inserted and located the aircraft wreckage but found no sign of Major Kahler; the POW Network also reports that the Pathet Lao claimed to have shot down an F-105 on 14 June.
Major Kahler was carried as Missing in Action until 17 August 1979, when the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death, changing his status to "Died while Missing". He was promoted to Colonel while in MIA status.
The POW Network states that Colonel Kahler entered the Air Force during World War II, receiving his wings in 1943, but did not see combat action. It does not address his service during the Korean War.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
someone who served with him,
Brockport, N Y 14420
14 Jun 2003
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2005