Today in History – April 6 – (1968) Capt. William David Canup and (1970) Michael Lee Klingner are Killed in Action

William D. Canup was born on May 23, 1941, and hailed from Indianapolis, IN. After high school, he studied Engineering at the University of Evansville. He enlisted in the Air Force and began his tour of duty on February 4, 1968. He was assigned to the 615th TFS out of Phan Rang AB, RVN.

“On April 6, 1968, CAPT Canup [Bobcat 6] was on a normal flight schedule when he traded places with another pilot who was assigned to fly the North American F-100D Super Sabre (#55-2911) that was generally flown by Canup. He flew the Super Sabre on what was regarded as a routine mission when the jet was brought down by a “Golden BB,” a single round which caused it to crash near highway QL-19, thirteen miles northwest of An Khe in Binh Dinh Province, RVN. It was speculated that the bullet may have incapacitated Canup as he went down with the ship, canopy still intact and no ejection executed. Because of the tactical situation on the ground, his remains were not recovered until the following day when they were brought back to Phan Rang. A few days later, a memorial service was performed at the chapel on base by a Baptist chaplain Canup had been friendly with.” [Taken from and information provided by Richard Buickerood (September 2019)]

William David Canup is buried at Washington Park North Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN, and is honored on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. Name inscribed at VVM Wall, Panel 48e, Line 24.

April 6, 1970 – CAPT Michael Lee Klinger was flying an F-100D (#56-3278), call sign “Sabre 31”, on a strike mission approximately five miles east-southeast of Ban Vay, Laos. The target was marked by a Forward Air Controller (FAC) and the flight was briefed for a strafing pass. Klingner made his pass and was observed to have fired his guns. Some five seconds later, the flight leader and the FAC observed a large ball of fire as Klingner’s aircraft impacted with the ground. No parachute was observed and no beeper signal was detected. Aerial reconnaissance was made but found no signs of survival. His remains were not recovered. [Taken from]

Klingner was born on July 14, 1945, and lived in McCook, NE.

Carrol Johnson, friend, and fellow Hun Driver says of Mike “I always considered him the best wingman I flew with. You could always depend on him, no matter what the mission was.

Mike was fun to know and be around, always in a good mood with a smile on his face. I considered him one of my best friends in my entire Air Force career. Since his death happened so long ago, I will always remember him as “Forever Young”.”

Mike left behind his wife, Jane who also remembers him with a tribute on the Vietnam Virtual Wall: “

“And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Mike, your spirit lives in our hearts and encourages us to be the best that we can be.”

The verse quoted above is from
On Eagles’ Wings,
written by
Fr. Jan Michael Joncas
based on Psalm 91.

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