Kenneth Dale RobinsonColonel
497TH TFS, 8TH TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
30 June 1935 - 02 February 1979
Panel 10E Line 057
The database page for Kenneth Dale Robinson
I wore Captain Robinson's bracelet for years until I found out his body was returned and identified. He deserves to be on The Virtual Wall with all the others who gave the supreme sacrifice for our country.
Richard A. Sullivan
My name is Gerald G Gibbons, Lt Col, USAF, Retired. I went through Air Force Navigator School with Ken. We both reported to Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, Ohio, in April of 1957. We lived together with another Navigator, Gene Cattee. Ken and I both got married shortly after that and lived in the same apartment in Columbus. He left Columbus a couple years later and then went to Pilot school. That is when I lost touch with him. He was a good guy and loved his country and the Air Force.
From a friend,
Ken was a member of UPT Class 64-D, Webb AFB, Big Spring, Texas, graduating 9 Dec 1963. He and his wife Liz were among the most liked and respected married couples of our class. Ken was one of only two killed in action in SEA, the other being Ross Fobair.
The Hanger 25 Air Museum is conducting an "All Webb AFB Reunion" from 30 Sep through 2 Oct 2005. Several months ago I started contacting our surviving classmates. To date, we have contacted 13 of our 33 American classmates (11 deceased) and none of our 7 German classmates. We have put together a "Class 64-D Historical Record" notebook remembering our fallen classmates recognizing their and their families' sacrifices as well as the achievements and contributions of those of us that have blessed with the opportunities afforded by survival. This Class 64-D Historical Record will not be complete when given to the museum on 2 Oct, but we, the surviving classmates of Ken, have pledged to continue our efforts to account for all of our classmates at some time in the future updating the historical record accordingly.
From an UPT Class 64-D Classmate,
A Note from The Virtual Wall
Captain Roscoe H. Fobair was flying as copilot in F-4C 63-7599, one of four aircraft providing combat air patrol cover for an F-105 strike against a munitions factory west of Hanoi. His pilot was Captain Richard P. Keirn.
Keirn and Fobair share the doubtful distinction of being the first known US losses to the SA-2 surface-to-air missile. Although both men were thought be have been captured, only Kiern was released on 12 Feb 1973. The North Vietnamese advised that Fobair had died but declined to say when or why. His remains have not been repatriated.
Captain Kiern had flown B-17 bombers with the US 8th Air Force during World War II. He was shot down on 11 Sep 1944 and spent nine months in a German POW camp before being released on 15 Jun 1945. After release from active service Keirn stayed in the Ohio Air National Guard and was recalled to active duty in 1956. He flew F-86 and F-100 fighters before converting to the F-4C. He had arrived at Ubon RTAFB about two weeks earlier and was flying his eleventh mission.
Richard Keirn holds a separate distinction: he is one of two Americans to have been POWs in two wars, and he very probably holds the record for total time as a POW - 277 days in WWII, 2760 days in Vietnam, a total of 8 years 4 months as a Prisoner of War. After repatriation Colonel Keirn regained flying status and was serving as Assistant Director of Operations for 9th Air Force when he retired in 1976. Colonel Keirn died 25 May 2000 and was buried with honors at Florida Memorial Gardens on Memorial Day, May 29, 2000.
In 1989, 23 years after he was shot down, Ken's remains were returned from North Viet Nam, and buried in Arlington 60-7277 with full military honors.
A restored F4C Phantom has been dedicated to Ken and his copilot, and is on permanent display at the Air Museum, March AFB, CA.
To all of you who wore his bracelet, thought of him, and prayed for him, I thank you.
From his wife,
I wore Kenneth Robinson's bracelet too. My sister works with Arlington Cemetery and has facilitated the creation of a web page in his honor.
I am glad to know that his remains are now at Arlington.
Notes from The Virtual WallOn August 30, 1966, Captain Kenneth D. Robinson and 1st Lt Sammie D. Hoff launched in an F-4C Phantom fighter/bomber (serial F-4C 63-7503) on a mission over southern North Vietnam. While over Quang Binh Province, NVN, it was hit by enemy fire. As "backseater", Hoff ejected first. Other aircraft in the area had brief radio contact with him. It is assumed, but not known, that Robinson also safely ejected.
The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of Hoff or Robinson, and they were not released in 1973 when 591 American prisoners of war returned.
On 03 March 1978 the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for Major Sammie D. Hoff, and his status was changed to Killed in Action/Body not Recovered. Similar action was approved for Kenneth Robinson on 02 Feb 1979.
Ten years later, on 18 April 1989, the Defense Department announced that remains turned over by the Vietnamese on 15 December 1988 had been positively identified as those of Sammie Don Hoff and Kenneth D. Robinson.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 08 Jul 2002
Last updated 07/16/2006