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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Roy Kenneth Baliles, Colonel, USAF (Retired)
February 11, 1930 – September 28, 2021
Kenneth Baliles, age 91, passed away on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 in San Antonio. He was born on February 11, 1930 in Washington D.C., to parents, Wooster and Zula Elgin Baliles. Ken attended Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, graduating in 1948. He attended Baylor University and majored in Business Administration. Ken entered aviation cadet training in Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and awarded his navigator wings in October 1953 at Mather Air Force Base, California. His first assignment was with the Air Training Command as an instructor navigator at James Connolly Air Force Base, Texas.
In February 1957, he entered pilot training at Bartow Air Force Base, Florida. He graduated from pilot school and received his pilot wings at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas in March 1958. Ken went immediately to helicopter pilot school, graduating in August 1958 at Stead Air Force Base, Nevada. Following graduating from helicopter school, he was assigned to Goose Air Labrador as a pilot, flying H-21 helicopters and SA-16 aircraft. From October 1959 to July 1962, he served as Detachment Commander of a Local Base Rescue unit in Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. His next assignment was to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico where he also served as a Rescue Detachment Commander until July 1965, when he was assigned to Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). Upon graduation from ACSC, Ken was assigned to the Republic of Viet Nam as Commander Advisor to the 217 Vietnamese Helicopter Squadron at Binh Thuy Air Base in the Mekong Delta.
He returned to the United States for assignment in August 1967 to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas as Chief of the Operations Plans Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters Air Training Command. In 1970, he attended the Program for Management Development at Harvard University. Following his graduation from Harvard, he was assigned to Mather Air Force Base, California as Wing Comptroller. In July 1973, he was assigned to the Alaskan Air Command as Comptroller and was promoted to the grade of Colonel. He became Deputy Chief of Staff, Comptroller in July 1976. After Alaska, he was Comptroller for the Air Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio. His last assignment was as Wing Commander 323 Flying Training Wing at Mather Air Force Base, California. His retirement was in June 1981.
Throughout his impressive military career, Col. Baliles totaled over 5,000 hours of flying time, has logged 277 combat missions, and 380 combat hours. His military decorations and awards included the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal; and from the Republic of Viet Nam, the Armed Forces Honor Medal.
Upon retirement, Ken served as Vice President of First City National Bank in Houston, Texas until 1982, was Manager of Administrative Services at Mark Producing until 1986, Vice President of McCoy Office Furniture until 1987, and worked in Presidential Personnel for George H. Bush at the White House until August 1990.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Marlene Baliles; and son, Greg Baliles. Ken is survived by his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brother, other relatives and many friends.
Rest in peace, sir.
BIRTH 11 Feb 1930
DEATH 28 Sep 2021 (aged 91)
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA
PLOT Section 134 Site 802
COL US Air Force
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