Paul Ralph WindleCaptain
19TH TASS, 34TH TAC GRP, 13TH AF
United States Air Force
14 November 1934 - 30 June 1965
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The database page for Paul Ralph Windle
Captain Paul Ralph Windle
Capt. Windle was lost while he was assigned as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) to the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade (later to become a full Division) This airborne unit was the top high-mobility reaction force in the Vietnamese Armed Forces. US Air Force Forward Air Controllers assigned to the VN Airborne force were a unique extension of the USAF Air Power doctrine. They served as both Advisors to the Vietnamese and also personally applied Close Air Support (CAS) air strikes against insurgents and other enemy units that threatened the ground forces of the VN Airborne Division. Paul flew the O-1 aircraft with the call sign "Red Marker 2".
In June 1965 the VN Airborne 1st Task Force with the 1st and 5th Abn Battalions went into the Central Highlands. The operation was to search out Viet Cong main force units that were reported south of Pleiku and west of Tuy Hoa. Heavy contact was made near Cheo Reo and the two Battalions stood and maneuvered under Paul's protective cover. Capt. Windle's immediate reaction, tenacity and determined delivery of air power blunted the enemy attack and gave the ground forces time to establish positions. Over 80 air support sorties were flown.
The VN Airborne Division Task Force considered Captain Windle's very brave and highly honorable performance as key to saving the VN Airborne forces that were greatly outnumbered.
I had the privilege of replacing Paul as "Red Marker 2" in July 1965.
A note from The Virtual WallCaptain Windle and an artillery observer, Army Major Joseph E. Parker, were in O-1E tail number 55-4649 providing FAC support to the ARVN Airborne Brigade near Cheo Reo, Phu Bon Province. Windle was directing an F-100 strike when the Birddog was hit by ground fire and crashed. Both men were killed.
Windle was one of the original "Red Marker" FACs and had flown just over 100 FAC missions when he was shot down. He had previously flown the B-26 in Vietnam and was returning for a third tour, this time as an A-1E Skyraider pilot, when he was assigned to the Red Markers.
After his death the small airport at Greensburg, Kansas, where he had learned to fly before entering the Air Force, was renamed in his honor.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 09/22/2011