Name: Kenneth Raymond Hughey
Rank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 480th TFS
Date of Birth: 22 May 1932
Home City of Record: Seal Beach CA
Date of Loss: 06 July 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 2143300 North  1060300 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Missions: 106 North Vietnam -- Total 564
Other Personnel in Incident: Melvin Pollack, returnee

Official pre-capture photo

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.  2023


Kenneth Hughey retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
his wife Sue reside in California.

Col Kenneth Hughey

FAC and 6 years a POW

Kenneth Hughey was born 22 May 1932 in Chic, Tennessee, a rural community in the Mississippi River Delta. He attended rural public schools and graduated from Dyersburg High School in Dyersburg, Tennessee in 1949. Shortly after graduation at age 17 he enlisted in the USAF and spent four years in radar maintenance and then attended pilot training and graduated in class 54-B at Williams AFB, Arizona.

He arrived in SVN at Tan son Nhut Airport 4 March, 1965.   He was assigned to the 20th TASS in Da Nang.  Sent to Bien Hoa  with the 19th TASS to learn to fly the  O-1 on a dirt strip at a rubber plantation near Vung Tau, known as Cape Saint Jacque to the French Colonials.   He reported in to the 20th TASS in Da Nang and was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division (ARVN) as assistant ALO to Major Wilbur Stone. He began OJT training with  experienced FACs who taught me a lot about staying alive and the importance of not calling in an airstrike against a Buddhist Monastery.  The 2nd Infantry move to Quang Ngai soon after.   He lived in a US Army compound in Quang Ngai. Our call signs were Bird Dog.

He returned to Vietnam again as a F-4 pilot.  He was leading a flight of F-4 Phantoms over North Viet Nam and  was shot down by Anti-aircraft Artillery and was taken prisoner. As a POW he spent 14 months in a one-man cell: of which five months was in complete isolation. His wife did not know he was alive until after 3 1/2 years of his captivity. She had to wait in the silent hope that he survived being shot down, then wait another 2 1/2 years for his release. He was shot down on July 6 1967 and released 4 March, 1973.   Combat experience include  564 Combat Sorties in Southeast Asia including 106 missions over North Viet Nam.

Ken's military decorations include: Two silver Stars; Legion of Merit; Three Distinguished Flying Crosses; Two Bronze Stars; Thirty Air Medals; and Four Purple Hearts.

After Vietnam he had Various USAF Assignments to  include managing major space activities and flying fighters. His formal education includes a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, An MA in English, and a Juris Doctorate in Law

He retired from the USAF as a Colonel.  After his retirement  he worked for 15 years as a Senior Engineer and Project Manager at Hughes Aircraft Company, where he provided engineering and logistics support for launching government satellites.  During his tenure at Hughes, Ken began the study of law and passed the California Bar Exam before he graduated from law school. He then spent the next thirteen years with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office as a Criminal Prosecutor

Ken retired from the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office in March 2011. Since then, he worked briefly in a civil law firm, and campaigned unsuccessfully for a position as a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge. He now resides in Hawthorne, California with Mimi, his wife of 64 years. He writes and has published a memoir, Outlaw Lead, that is available on Amazon.

 courtesy ER  05/25/18


Outlaw Lead

During a bombing raid over North Vietnam, Kenneth R. Hughey takes flak in his F-4 Phantom. With both their aircraft’s engines burning, Hughey and fellow crewman Mel Pollack eject at 22,000 feet and 620 miles an hour....