William Louis Kinkade

United States Air Force
27 April 1944 - 26 November 1973
Corvallis, OR
Panel 45W Line 020



William L Kinkade

USAF Pilot

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

The database page for William Louis Kinkade

Bill Kinkade was my roommate in the Air Force Survival School at Fairchild AFB, Washington in 1968.

There were four of us in that BOQ room, but I don't remember who the other two guys were. Survival School was mandatory for all Air Force aircrews, regardless of whether you were going to Vietnam or not, but aircrews going to South East Asia didn't have to stay at Fairchild for the survival trek during the last week of school, because we were all going to attend the PACAF Jungle Survival School at Clark Airbase in the Philippines anyway, and the Air Force seemed to regard that as equivalent training. Anybody assigned to the Strategic Air Command, the Military Airlift Command or the Air Training Command had to stay the extra week, so those of us heading for SEA headed for the party in State Line, Idaho a week before the rest of the class did. Maybe the other two guys in the room had to stay around for another week, and maybe that's why I remember Bill so vividly.

After we finished Survival School, Bill and I went out to party in State Line. He was definitely the man to party with, and we had a great time. The next morning we went our separate ways. It was June 5, 1968, the day Bobby Kennedy was shot.

The Mission

Early on 01 September 1968, two F-D Phantoms of the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron departed Udorn RTAFB on a night armed reconnaissance mission in the northeastern approaches to the Ban Karai Pass, which links North Vietnam and Laos. The two aircraft, callsigns CARTER 01 and CARTER 02, proceeded to the target area without incident.

The target area weather was reasonably favorable - a 15,000 overcast, good visibility below the overcast, and light winds. On arrival, the CARTER flight checked in with the Airborne Command and Control aircraft and the on-site Forward Air Controller and were assigned a target. As CARTER 01 made its first pass at the target it was hit by enemy ground fire and the crew ejected.

CARTER 02, crewed by Captain Jack Wilson and then-1LT William L. Kinkade, immediately reported the situation to the ABCC and began an electronic search for the CARTER 01 crew. Voice contact with both downed crewmen was made almost at once and they were advised that search and rescue operations had been initiated.

AT 0440, CARTER 02 initiated an attack on NVA troops moving into the area where the CARTER 01 crew was located. During the attack, CARTER 02 was hit by ground fire. Wilson advised the ABCC they they were ejecting. CARTER 02 disintegrated and exploded before impact with the ground.

The FAC established voice contact with Captain Wilson, but no contact was made with 1LT Kinkade. The SAR aircraft arrived at first light and were able to pick up the CARTER 01 crew and Captain Wilson from CARTER 02. The search effort continued in deteriorating weather, with the overcast lowering to 6,000 (about 2-3,000 feet above the mountains), but no contact was made with Kinkade. Given the lack of contact with Kinkade, the deteriorating weather, and continuing hostile fire, a decision was made to terminate the formal search effort and 1LT William Kinkade was listed as Missing in Action.

In his after action debriefing, Captain Wilson reported that he heard a garbled transmission from 1LT Kincade just before he (Wilson) ejected and that he did not know what happened to Kinkade.

The Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 26 November 1973. His remains have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Tom Mangan
Brockport, Ny
1 Sep 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 09/02/2002