Kenneth C. Kerwin


Preferred Name: Ken
Nickname/Call Sign: K2
Date Of Birth: 01-29-1936
Highest Military Grade Held: Lt Col, O5
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA

Ken Kerwin

Ken KerwinFred Ogel and I joined the Caterpillar Club in the early ‘60s whilst flying a 20th FW/79th FS F-100F out of Spain headed to England. We were at about 35,000 ft over France when our feet were blown off the rudder pedals and the cockpit went IFR.

We tuned in Chateroux on the TACAN, as it was the nearest known field, and turned in that direction. When we contacted the tower they said the field was under construction and the left side was closed. When asked if there was still room for an F-100, they said it was OK with them if we wanted to try. (Ever notice how many red cockpit lights and unwinding gauges seem to limit your options.) So we decided, “Why not, lets give it a go.” By the way, I still remember the aircraft tail number … AF-63888.
Fred was the cool one, for some unknown reason I had pulled the oxygen bottle on my chute and had to fight the constant pressure to talk.

We set up a glide toward the field and talked about landing. At about 10,000 feet our wing man said in a rather commanding voice, “GET OUT, YOU’RE ON FIRE!!!” Seems the whole tail section had burst into flames from the internal engine fire. That must have been some sight, wish I could have seen it. That also seemed to limit our options even more.
Without so much as a “by-your-leave,” I pulled the handles.

Boy, does it get quiet outside of a trusty F-100 at 10,000 feet. After a ride of my life, looked up and saw that big beautiful chute in full bloom. Could also see a large fire ball with wings and a wingman departing in the distance.

After releasing my survival kit and enjoying the panoramic view of the beautiful French countryside, I landed in the trees straddling a barbwire fence. Thought to myself, now you’re in trouble,  what if the chute slips and you land on the fence.

Rather than releasing the chute harness, decided to trim a few lines to swing to the side then release. Took out the secret orange knife from its hiding place on my left leg. We carried the knife with the hook blade ready for just such an emergency. Reached up and cut one of the risers … or at least tried. The hook blade just rolled over and didn’t even mark the riser. Must have happened to other fighter pilots also, because it was not long until they all tore the pocket off their flights suits.

Thanks to an old French farmer, I finally got out of the trees. He climbed up in the tree and, using a small pocket knife with the blade almost worn off from use (just like one my Grandfather had), cut through the risers like butter and set me free. I called the Gooney Bird circling overhead to say I was OK and check on Fred. Later found out he was not on Guard Channel. The French farmer and some friends loaded me in the rear of an old pick up truck with all my gear and headed to Chad. About half way there a rescue chopper from Chad picked me up. I used all (both) French words I knew to thank all the farmers for their wonderful help and departed in the chopper.

The Base Commander bought us dinner in the club that night and soon we departed on a 20th FW Gooney Bird for home. Our free ride home had a generator problem. The crew chief opened a
panel in the floor and took a screwdriver to some wires. Sparks flew everywhere… and he kept it up. I had not had enough Vodka Tonics yet to not care, so I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to stop, at least until they let us off.

As I said, Fred was the cool one, he and Kay still are every time I see them!
Cheers,
Ken (K2) Kerwin

Biography

Check Six!!

Units Assigned

  • 1957 Aviation Cadets 59-D, Lackland AFB, TX
  • 1957 Pilot Training, Hondo AFB, TX, T-34, T-28
  • 1958 Greenville AFB, Mississippi, T-33
  • 1958 F-100 Training, Luke AFB, AZ, F-100
  • 1958 Nellis AFB, NV, F-100
  • 1959 -1961 434 TFS/479 TFW, George AFB, CA, F-104 TDY to Spain in F-104
  • 1961 – 1964 79 TFS/20 TFW, RAF Woodbridge, UK, F-100
  • 1965 – 1966 435 TFS/479 TFW George AFB, CA, F-104 DaNang AB, RVN, F-104
  • 1966 FAC/ALO 1st Armored Division, Ft. Hood, Texas, T-33, O-1, L-20
  • 1967 Instructor Air Ground Operations School, Hurlburt Field, FL, T-33,
  • 1968 OV-10 Training Hurlburt Field, FL, OV-10
  • 1968 FAC/ALO Osan AB, Korea
  • 1969 602 Direct Air Support Center, Schofield Barracks/Wheeler Field, HI, T-33
  • 1970 – 1974 PACAF IG, T-33
  • 1974 – 1977 52 TFW, Chief Command Post, Commander, 52nd FMS, Spangdahlem AB, GE
  • 1977 – 1982 HQ TAC DO, Langley AFB, VA

Awards & Decorations

Flight Info

Military Education

  • Air Command & Staff, and lots of flying stuff.

Civilian Education

  • BA
Caterpillar Club

Ken Kerwin

Ken KerwinFred Ogel and I joined the Caterpillar Club in the early ‘60s whilst flying a 20th FW/79th FS F-100F out of Spain headed to England. We were at about 35,000 ft over France when our feet were blown off the rudder pedals and the cockpit went IFR.

We tuned in Chateroux on the TACAN, as it was the nearest known field, and turned in that direction. When we contacted the tower they said the field was under construction and the left side was closed. When asked if there was still room for an F-100, they said it was OK with them if we wanted to try. (Ever notice how many red cockpit lights and unwinding gauges seem to limit your options.) So we decided, “Why not, lets give it a go.” By the way, I still remember the aircraft tail number … AF-63888.
Fred was the cool one, for some unknown reason I had pulled the oxygen bottle on my chute and had to fight the constant pressure to talk.

We set up a glide toward the field and talked about landing. At about 10,000 feet our wing man said in a rather commanding voice, “GET OUT, YOU’RE ON FIRE!!!” Seems the whole tail section had burst into flames from the internal engine fire. That must have been some sight, wish I could have seen it. That also seemed to limit our options even more.
Without so much as a “by-your-leave,” I pulled the handles.

Boy, does it get quiet outside of a trusty F-100 at 10,000 feet. After a ride of my life, looked up and saw that big beautiful chute in full bloom. Could also see a large fire ball with wings and a wingman departing in the distance.

After releasing my survival kit and enjoying the panoramic view of the beautiful French countryside, I landed in the trees straddling a barbwire fence. Thought to myself, now you’re in trouble,  what if the chute slips and you land on the fence.

Rather than releasing the chute harness, decided to trim a few lines to swing to the side then release. Took out the secret orange knife from its hiding place on my left leg. We carried the knife with the hook blade ready for just such an emergency. Reached up and cut one of the risers … or at least tried. The hook blade just rolled over and didn’t even mark the riser. Must have happened to other fighter pilots also, because it was not long until they all tore the pocket off their flights suits.

Thanks to an old French farmer, I finally got out of the trees. He climbed up in the tree and, using a small pocket knife with the blade almost worn off from use (just like one my Grandfather had), cut through the risers like butter and set me free. I called the Gooney Bird circling overhead to say I was OK and check on Fred. Later found out he was not on Guard Channel. The French farmer and some friends loaded me in the rear of an old pick up truck with all my gear and headed to Chad. About half way there a rescue chopper from Chad picked me up. I used all (both) French words I knew to thank all the farmers for their wonderful help and departed in the chopper.

The Base Commander bought us dinner in the club that night and soon we departed on a 20th FW Gooney Bird for home. Our free ride home had a generator problem. The crew chief opened a
panel in the floor and took a screwdriver to some wires. Sparks flew everywhere… and he kept it up. I had not had enough Vodka Tonics yet to not care, so I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to stop, at least until they let us off.

As I said, Fred was the cool one, he and Kay still are every time I see them!
Cheers,
Ken (K2) Kerwin

Biography

Biography

Check Six!!

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 1957 Aviation Cadets 59-D, Lackland AFB, TX
  • 1957 Pilot Training, Hondo AFB, TX, T-34, T-28
  • 1958 Greenville AFB, Mississippi, T-33
  • 1958 F-100 Training, Luke AFB, AZ, F-100
  • 1958 Nellis AFB, NV, F-100
  • 1959 -1961 434 TFS/479 TFW, George AFB, CA, F-104 TDY to Spain in F-104
  • 1961 – 1964 79 TFS/20 TFW, RAF Woodbridge, UK, F-100
  • 1965 – 1966 435 TFS/479 TFW George AFB, CA, F-104 DaNang AB, RVN, F-104
  • 1966 FAC/ALO 1st Armored Division, Ft. Hood, Texas, T-33, O-1, L-20
  • 1967 Instructor Air Ground Operations School, Hurlburt Field, FL, T-33,
  • 1968 OV-10 Training Hurlburt Field, FL, OV-10
  • 1968 FAC/ALO Osan AB, Korea
  • 1969 602 Direct Air Support Center, Schofield Barracks/Wheeler Field, HI, T-33
  • 1970 – 1974 PACAF IG, T-33
  • 1974 – 1977 52 TFW, Chief Command Post, Commander, 52nd FMS, Spangdahlem AB, GE
  • 1977 – 1982 HQ TAC DO, Langley AFB, VA

Awards & Decorations

Flight Info

Military Education

  • Air Command & Staff, and lots of flying stuff.

Civilian Education

  • BA
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