Richard Abbott Kibbey

United States Air Force
02 June 1934 - 06 February 1967
Delmar, New York
Panel 14E Line 129



Silver Star

USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Richard Abbott Kibbey

23 May 2002

I have Major Kibbey's MIA bracelet.
It belonged to my fiance's mother.
I wish only to convey my prayers to his family.
May God bless you.

Tracey D. McCurdy
402 King Ave Waynesboro, Va 22980

06 Feb 2003

We will teach our children of your bravery and they in turn will teach their children and their teachings will continue through time so you and your sacrifices will never be forgotten. You will always be remembered.

From a friend,
Debby Tobin

13 Apr 2005

Point of contact. R. A. Kibbey has three sons and one daughter, all of whom still want info on their Father. I am the girlfriend of one of his sons, David W. Kibbey. The three sons all live in central Florida and his daughter lives up north, Conn. or Mass. I'm not sure.

From his son's friend,
Joanne Loehner

14 Sep 2005

Richard Kibbey was my grandfather who I never was given the chance to meet. I hope he is as proud of my accomplishments through my military career as I am of his. His Purple Heart, medals, Captain's shoulder boards, and other decorations are the closest I have ever been to him when I would hold them in my hands as a kid. He did leave behind a great gift to me in my dad though.

Love from your grandson,
Nicholas Kibbey
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

15 Dec 2005

I was a neighbor of the Kibbey family when Captain Kibbey was stationed at Hill AFB Utah before he left for this assignment. The Kibbey family was such a wonderful addition to our neighborhood. The daughter, Terry, and I were very close friends known as the "Bobsey Twins" - had even convinced our teachers that we were twins. Captain Kibbey was such a fun neighbor and quite a joker too. Our neighborhood never knew what they would wake up to every morning. There were so many jokes played by him on all of us. He also made his backyard into a great ice skating rink every winter and a golf putting range in summer - so his house was the "place to be". He also had an old Model T Ford that he would hitch sleds to the back of and drive us through the neighborhood on icy days. Our family truly has wonderful memories of this great Air Force hero. He was also quite an artist and my parents still own one of his landscapes, as well as a bookcase he made for them.

The Kibbey family is always in my thoughts and prayers - take care.

From a friend and old neighbor,
Debbie (Bortel) Crosby

10 Jun 2006

I still have Major Kibbey's POW bracelet which I acquired in 1973. It is one of my most valuable possessions. If people live on through their names being spoken, please know that I have spoken his name for over 30 years in my daily prayers.

Sharon Scott

19 Jul 2006

I too did not have the honor of meeting Richard A. Kibbey... My Uncle. Oldest brother to my father Roger A. Kibbey, who himself served his country in Vietnam as a Marine. I have proudly carried the Kibbey name thru my life and I will never understand the sacrifice Uncle Richard gave to his country. Additionally Robert A. Kibbey, brother to Roger and Richard, also served in Vietnam. He is gone but never forgotten. God bless.

From his nephew,
Darrin S. Kibbey

28 Sep 2006

I would like to take this time to say "Thank You" to all of you who have remembered. I am Roger, Dick's youngest brother. I was in the USMC and it seems I ran into Dick more while we were in the service than when we were out. We were in Viet Nam together at times when he flew into Danang, I was on the strip as a radio operator. I have worn my MIA bracelet since 1967. I miss him very much and don't let a day go without thinking of him. I am very glad that the children I teach still ask me about Viet Nam. Thank You All.

From his youngest brother,
Roger A. Kibbey

18 Dec 2007

Dick's youngest brother here ... Time has passed since I wrote last and I have a few updates to post.

As I look at the display of ribbons and medals, I see Dick's Silver Star medal is not on it. I should like to add that.

On May 7, 2007 Governor Spitzer of New York conferred upon Dick the Conspicuous Service Cross with two New York silver shields. He is also up for the New York State Medal of Valor for his actions on February 6, 1967 when he persevered in the rescue attempt to save aa downed American pilot with complete disregard for his own personal safety.

Thank You,

PS Does any know how I can get a Air Force Longevity service award ribbon and a small arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon?

I have my own display for Dick and my father for WWI. I can't find the two medals or his two patches 38th ARRS and 7th Air Force.

From his youngest brother,
Roger "Buddy" Arnold Kibbey
261 Rte 45, Earlton, N. Y. 12058
24 Apr 2007

We all have the same initials, you know - R.A.K. Richard's middle name was Abbott (our mother's maiden name). Then came Ronald Allen and then me, Robert Arthur (our grandfather). The last of us four boys was Roger Arnold. Our father's initials were O. K. (Oren) and we had a sign on the barn up at camp that said, "O.K. Corral".

We're all getting older (in our 60's), and it gets harder and harder to remember how it was in the 60's. Those days were the most volatile, fast moving, ever-changing, glorious, horrific of times. There was graduation, college, the Cuban Missile crisis, John's assassination, military service, Bobby's assassination, Dick's loss in a far away war (that's not a war, but a conflict; I hear echos of MacNamara), civil rights, Martin's assassination, Beatles/Rolling stones, '66 political unrest (Chicago), Kent State massacre (or was that in the 70s?), moon shot, flower power, and ending with marriage, and a funked out Woodstock.

I still think of Dick, every once in a while. I can't remember much, just bits and pieces. In my early years I was more engrossed in myself and didn't see what was happening to others. I do remember saying something to Dick at the supper table when I may have been 8 or 9, and he hit my glass as I was drinking and it cut my nose. A little cut, but Mom was pissed and scolded Dick.

I'd like to thank every one who maintains this Wall. I guess that would be or include my great nephew Nick.

It's a crime that our leaders can't learn from this Wall and what it means. In a few years, we're going to have to put up another one.

From his brother,
Robert Arthur Kibbey

26 May 2008

I wore a copper POW/MIA Bracelet throughout college 1969-1974 with Major Richard A. Kibbey's name. For years it sat on my office desk and until I sent it to the Vietnam Vets to forward to the Kibbey family a few years ago.

I visited the traveling Wall today and found Richard's name. There was a very odd sense of peace.

John Peck

31 May 2008

I too have an MIA Bracelet for Richard Kibbey. It was purchased for me in the late 60s or early 70s by my uncle, a Huey crew chief who served two tours in Vietnam. Over the years I have thought often about Kibbey and the family he left behind. I did contact one of his sons a few years back and he shared the story of what happened with me. I have 3 children and they all know the story and will make sure it is passed along to their children.

Richard Sitton

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 6 February 1967 two O-1F light observation aircraft were conducting a Forward Air Control mission in the vicinity of the Mu Ghia Pass on the Laos/North Vietnam border. As the lead O-1F, NAIL 65, was directing a strike by Navy A-4 aircraft, he was hit by enemy antiaircraft fire. The pilot, Captain Lucius L. Heiskell, USAF, was forced to bail out in an area under complete enemy control.

His wingman, Captain Gerald Dickey, watched his lead bail out and was able to establish voice communications with Heiskell immediately after Heiskell hit the ground. Search and Rescue operations were begun at once, with both SARCAP and helicopters launching from Nakon Phanom RTAFB some 60 miles west in Thailand. Two FIREFLY F-4s were first on the scene, followed shortly thereafter by SANDY A-1 aircraft. Two HH-3E helicopters of the 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, JOLLY GREEN 05 and JOLLY GREEN 36, brought up the rear. Captain Dickey continued to provide on-scene observation and was able to maintain contact with Captain Heiskell, who was evading enemy troops on the ground.

The weather was poor - overcast with tops at 3,000 feet, low scattered clouds beneath the overcast, and visibility limited to 4 to 5 miles by haze. The terrain was no better, consisting of extremely rugged karst outcrops covered in moderately heavy jungle growth.

Never the less, JOLLY GREEN 05 (tail #65-12779) was able to move in under the clouds and between the towering limestone hills and succeeded in picking up Heiskell at about 1635. As the aircraft lifted off it was hit repeatedly by 37mm AAA fire. JOLLY GREEN 05's pilot reported that the aircraft was on fire. Captain Dickey and other SAR forces watched helplessly as the burning HH-3E flew for a mile or so before colliding head-on with a limestone cliff. Burning wreckage was strewn around the area.

Although the weather was deteriorating, the remaining SAR forces concentrated their attention on the HH-3E crash site. JOLLY GREEN 36 conducted a ten minute search of the area, spotting two parachutes (one streamer and one fully deployed) near the wreckage but no survivors. The SANDY lead also made repeated low passes over the crash site. During these searches, one of the FIREFLY F-4s picked up an emergency beeper and shortly thereafter one survivor was identified. At 1640, JOLLY GREEN 36 picked up JOLLY GREEN 05's pararescueman, who said that he had been blown clear of the HH-3E when it crashed. In the face of deteriorating weather, the enemy AAA threat, and the absence of any evidence of additional survivors, the SAR effort was withdrawn.

Of the five men aboard JOLLY GREEN 05, four were classed as Missing in Action and one was rescued:

  • Major Patrick H. Wood, pilot, MIA
  • Captain Richard A. Kibbey, copilot, MIA
  • SSgt Donald J. Hall, flight engineer, MIA
  • A2c Dwayne Hackney, pararescueman, rescued
  • Captain Lucius L. Heiskell, O-1F pilot, MIA
Although the four men were carried in MIA status for some years, an Air Force review board ultimately determined that all available evidence indicated that they had died in the crash - there was no evidence of any kind that any of them had survived to be captured.

A 14 Feb 1996 JTF-FA report contains the following:

"Joint team then traveled to crash site WE8480359101, which is located atop a steep karst with slopes from 45 to 60 degrees. Area was extremely rocky with little to no top soil. Recovered several equipment data plates, a piece of rotor blade, and one jungle penetrator but found no evidence of personal equipment or human remains. Due to the liklihood that any remains which may have been located at this site have long since been washed down the karst, no excavation of this site was recommended; instead recommended case be place in pending. Also noted safety concerns related to extremely hazardous terrain."

Shot down 6 Feb 67 on his first mission flying an HH3E Jolly Green Giant rescue chopper. They just picked up a downed pilot and were leaving the area when they were hit with AA. The pararescueman, Duane Hackney, was rescued shortly after winning the AF Cross for his efforts and eventually became a Chief Master Sergeant in the Security Police. He retired from a squadron which I commanded. Three others and my dad were MIA from that flight. Lucius Heiskell, Donald Hall, and the other pilot were listed as missing in action and still are (I can't remember the pilot's name, I'll send it later). He left behind my mom, me [now] 45, brothers David 37 and John 32 and sister 44. Mom died eleven years later of a broken heart. She never remarried and only found contentment the last year of her life when the AF had a final determination board to settle life insurance and give finality that she really needed. She didn't want to let go, but had given up all hope. We miss them both and remember them with fondness and much love. They were perfect parents like June and Ward Cleaver.

Lt. Col. Richard A. Kibbey Jr., USAF
Tuesday, January 26, 1999

Taken from Jim Henthorn's
USAF Helicopter Crew Losses - The Southeast Asian War

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his grandson,
Nick Kibbey
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 May 2002
Last updated 06/09/2008