USAF Col. (ret) Herb Kalen passed away at the age of 87


(Original post from Bill Barnes on Facebook – August 28 at 7:25pm)
A wonderful, heroic American warrior. USAF Col. (ret) Herb Kalen passed away at the age of 87 last night of apparent natural causes. Next to my dad, I revered this man more than any other I know, and I was proud to be considered his friend. He flew rescue helicopters together with my dad in Viet Nam.
As a tribute I’ve copied an entry from the Military Times Hall of Valor regarding valor awards Col. Kalen received, particularly for his role as aircraft commander during the Son Tay raid, and then copied a link to a story about that raid.
Col. Kalen was a great man, such a wonderful and kind person, and the best skier I ever knew. I will miss him so much.
Herbert D. Kalen
Date of birth: January 8, 1929
Place of Birth: New York, Tarrytown
Five Air Force Crosses were awarded in the attempted rescue of American Prisoners of War camp at Son Tay, North Vietnam. Colonel Warner Britton “Apple 1”, Lieutenant Colonel John Allison “Apple 2”, and Major Frederic Donohue “Apple 3” were HH-53 pilots awarded the Air Force Cross. Major Herbert Kalen “Banana 1” carried the lead elements of the assault force into an 85-foot clearing in the center of the camp where he crash landed his 73-foot long HH-3E helicopter. Technical Sergeant LeRoy Wright, a Helicopter Flight Mechanic aboard Major Kalen’s aircraft was the only enlisted airman to receive the Air Force Cross in this mission that also netted 6 Distinguished Service Crosses and 83 Silver Stars. In addition to the Air Force Cross he earned in this Mission, Major Kalen also earned a Silver Star during his Vietnam War service. He retired as a U.S. Air Force Colonel on September 30, 1979.
AWARDS AND CITATIONS
Air Force Cross
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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Major Herbert D. Kalen (AFSN: 0-56767), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as an Aircraft Commander of an HH-3E Rescue Helicopter of the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group, as part of an all-volunteer joint U.S. Army and Air Force raiding force in the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed heliborne assault mission to rescue United States military personnel held as prisoners of war at Son Tay prison in North Vietnam, on 21 November 1970. On that date, Major Kalen volunteered to rescue and extract United States military personnel held as Prisoners of War deep inside the territory of North Vietnam. Major Kalen was faced with the most intense counter-air environment in the history of aerial warfare involving surface-to-air missiles. He masterfully executed the complicated maneuvers to evade the enemy’s air defense systems. Knowing that a grave danger existed in that the guards within the Prisoner of War compound may have been alerted, he valorously, fearlessly and successfully flew the helicopter with an assault group into the compound yard, knowing that he must crash-land the helicopter in an area much too small for safe landing. Once the landing was completed, he further assisted the assault group in its ground operation mission. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Major Kalen reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-985 (December 15, 1970)
Action Date: November 21, 1970
Service: Air Force
Rank: Major
Battalion: 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron
Regiment: 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group
Division: Son Tay Volunteer Task Force
Silver Star
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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Herbert D. Kalen (AFSN: 0-56767), United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Crew Commander of an HH-3E Helicopter of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in action in Southeast Asia, on 20 November 1967. On that date, Major Kalen was returning from a Gulf of Tonkin orbit when a fighter aircraft was shot down in an extremely hostile area. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Major Kalen made a low-level penetration of the area in the face of intense hostile fire and effected a successful rescue of the downed pilot. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Kalen has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
General Orders: Headquarters, 7th Air Force, Special Order G-591 (1967)
Action Date: 20-Nov-67
Service: Air Force
Rank: Major
Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron
Regiment: 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group
Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam
Distinguished Flying Cross
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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
(Citation Needed) – SYNOPSIS: Major Herbert D. Kalen (AFSN: 0-56767), United States Air Force, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in Southeast Asia.
Action Date: Vietnam War
Service: Air Force
Rank: Major
Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron
Regiment: 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group
Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam
Distinguished Flying Cross
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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Major Herbert D. Kalen (AFSN: 0-56767), United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an HH-3E pilot in Southeast Asia on 3 October 1967. On that date, Major Kalen penetrated one of the most heavily defended areas in Southeast Asia and was instrumental in the rescue of a downed pilot. Major Kalen deliberately exposed his aircraft as a target to attract hostile fire and make the rescue possible. Major Kalen’s skillful evasive maneuvering prevented the serious damage or loss of his aircraft and crew. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Major Kalen reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Action Date: October 3, 1967
Service: Air Force
Rank: Major
Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron
Regiment: 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group
Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam
http://combatreform.org/sontay.htm

John Grove Memorial

John Grove’s legacy lives on and not just in the PAVE LOW world. John helped fund Bless the Children, an international organization helping the poorest children of the world who are living under extreme conditions. He did this with his own retirement check! After his passing, several other caring PAVE guys stepped in to help out. In short, Bless The Children is looking for annual donations in order to provide a minimum of $2000 a month towards his memorial fund.

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