Cakebread, Kenneth William

Kenneth William “PJ” Cakebread, A1C, USAF
June 7, 1950 – February 19, 2018

Resident of Boulder Creek

Kenneth William “PJ” Cakebread left this earth unexpectedly on February 19, 2018 at his home in Boulder Creek, CA. He was 67.

Kenneth was an iconic, larger-than-life man whose motto was “ride fast and take chances.”

The former software engineer was a hardcore biker and extreme snowboarder who took everything to the limit. His cross-country motorcycle trips took him throughout most of the US. A fourth-generation Californian, he spent most of his youth in San Jose, where he competed on the cross-country track team for Willow Glen High School.

After graduation, he served with distinction in the US Air Force as a Pararescueman, or “PJ”, from 1970 to 1974. During his service in the Viet Nam conflict, he was awarded two Silver Stars, three Air Medals, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Ghost Mountain Riders Motorcycle Club. He was previously a member of the Viet Nam Vets Motorcycle Club.

He is survived by his mother, Joanne (Williams) Cakebread; wife, Kimberly Ferri Cakebread; sons, Carson and Jason Cakebread; brother, Gary Cakebread; sister; Cherie (Cakebread) Mosher; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his father, William Keith Cakebread.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Explore MCP (, a school for students who learn differently.

A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, March 10 from 1-3 PM at the Zayante Firehouse, 7700 E Zayante Rd, Felton, CA 95018. Potluck dishes are welcome. A pack ride with the Ghost Mountain Riders will follow.

If you would like to send your condolences to Kenneth’s family please visit

Bob Laymon posted the following;

A1C Kenneth William “PJ” Cakebread {R.I.P.} Brave American Hero [NKP & Da Nang]

1972 – April 13
A HH-53C #69-5793 of the 40th ARRS, crewed by Capt. Bennie D. Orrell (P), Lt. James R. Casey (CP), William T. Liles (FE), Sgt. William D. Brinson (PJ) and Kenneth W. Cakebread (PJ), rescued the pilot of a USMC A-6A (Call sign “Bengal 505”), Maj. Clyde D. Smith, after he and his NFO, 1st Lt. Scott Douglas Ketchie, had ejected from their AAA ground fire damaged aircraft near Ban Bamran, Laos (just across the border from the DMZ) on 09 April 1972. No trace of Lt. Ketchie was found and he was presumed to be KIA. Capt. Orrell was awarded the Air Force Cross and Sgt. Brinson the Silver Star for Their actions during this mission.

CITATION: “Taking Fire” by Kevin O’Rourke & Joe Peters & JRCC Save Form &…/recipient.php… & “Vietnam Air Losses” by Chris Hobson &…/5_R…/citations/airforce/a.html

1972 – June 02
A HH-53C #69-5786 (Call sign “Jolly Green 57”) of the 40th ARRS and equipped with a new Electronic Location Finder (“ELF”) system, crewed by Capt. Dale E. Stovall (P), John M. Gillespie III (CP), James F. Walsh (FE), Charles B. McQuoid II (PJ), Kenneth W. Cakebread (PJ) and Bobbie L. Welborn (AP) rescued the WSO of a F-4D (Call sign “Oyster 01 Bravo”), Capt. Roger C. Locher, after it had been hit by cannon fire from a MiG-19 and he ejected near the MiG base at Yen Bai, NVN. Capt. Locher had been shot down on 10 May 1972 and E&E’d for 23 days before he made voice contact with a flight of Phantom’s and this rescue attempt was initiated. The F-4D pilot, Maj. Robert Alfred Lodge was KIA on 10 May 1972. Capt. Dale E. Stovall was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions during this mission. This was the first SAR using the “ELF”.
CITATION: “Vietnam Air Losses” by Chris Hobson & “PJ’s in Vietnam” by Robert L. LaPointe

1972 – June 19
A HH-53C from 37th ARRS, crewed by Capt. Donald A. Sutton (P), Todd H. Hohberger (CP), Ronald W. Blackwell (FE), Cole E. Panning (PJ) and Kenneth W. Cakebread (PJ), rescued three AC-130A? [s.n. 55-0043 call sign “Spectre 11”] crew members, Capt. Gordon L. Brocher, 2nd Lt. Robert V. Reid and SSgt. William B. Patterson after they bailed out of their SA-7 missile damaged aircraft on 18 June 1972, near the A Shau Valley about 25 miles southwest of Hue, RVN. The remaining 12 AC-130A crew members, Capt. Paul Faris Gilbert, Capt. Robert Allan Wilson, Maj. Gerald Francis Ayres, Maj. Robert Herman Harrison, Capt. Mark Giles Danielson, MSgt. Jacob Edward Mercer, TSgt. Richard Milton Cole, SSgt. Donald Herman Klinke, SSgt. Larry Jerome Newman, SSgt. Richard E. Nyhof, Sgt. Leon Andrew Hunt and Sgt. Stanley Lawrence Lehrke, were KIA.
CITATION: “Vietnam Air Losses” by Chris Hobson & JRCC Save Form & “PJ’s in Vietnam” by Robert L. LaPointe

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
Some of the best things cannot be bought, they must be earned

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