Logo designed by Bill Lyster
This website is dedicated to all veterans and active duty of the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard helicopter groundcrew and aircrew, and the helicopters they flew and maintained.
Herbert D. Kalen, Colonel, USAF (Retired)March 12, 1929 – August 27, 2016
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA, Herbert D. Kalen, 87 passed away unexpectedly after a short illness on Aug. 27, 2016. He was born March 12, 1929, in Tarrytown, New York.
He graduated from Denver University in 1953, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force on Sept. 18, 153. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and awarded his pilot wings on Dec. 18, 1954. He had a distinguished military career until his retirement in 1979.
After retirement, Herb built a series of homes in Angel Fire where he lived for 30 years. He enjoyed life to the fullest with his passion of skiing, backpacking, hiking, and tennis.
In 1988, Herb, wife Kathy and others formed the Moreno Valley Trekkers. In October that year, they began work on the trail they named for the late Elliott Barker, (Barker, a conservationist, author of seven book and the state’s first game warden, who is best known as the man who made Smokey Bear famous.) He volunteered many hours building trails around the Angel Fire area. He also skillfully conquered 33 of the 53 tallest mountains in Colorado towering above 14,000 feet.
In 2011 they moved to their “retirement” home in Panama City Beach. He loved walking on the beach and spending time with his friends in this wonderful community.
Herb is survived by his wife, Kathy and daughter Kristi, both of Panama City Beach.
After cremation, internment will be in Arlington National Cemetery on a future date. A celebration of Life memorial service planned for Nov. 11, 2016, in the Panama City Beach area.
Herb’s military career
Kalen enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force on September 18, 1953, and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and awarded his pilot wings on December 18, 1954. Lt. Kalen then completed helicopter pilot training and served as a helicopter pilot until June 1957, when he transitioned into fighters and joined the 6520th Test Group at Hanscom Field, Massachusetts, where he served until January 1964. He next served with Air Force Systems Command at Eglin AFB, Florida, from January 1964 to January 1967. While at Eglin AFB, he met the love of his life, Kathy. They were married in 1966 and soon deployed to Southeast Asia as an HH-3E Jolly Green helicopter pilot with the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) at Da Nang AB in the Republic of Vietnam until January 1968. Maj. Kalen then served with the 48th ARRS at Eglin AFB, Florida, from January 1968 to February 1971. Their daughter Kristi was born in 1969. During this time, he participated in the Son Tay Raid on November 21, 1970. His assignment was as a staff officer with Headquarters Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service at Scott AFB, Illinois, where he served from February 1971 to April 1974. Col. Kalen’s final assignment was a Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, where he retired from the Air Force on September 30, 1979. His awards include, the Air Force Cross Award (Throughout the history of the USAF only 197 have ever been awarded), a Silver Star; which is the third-highest U.S. combat-only award, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
~ GUEST BOOK ~
Posted by Cheryl Mason on 30th August 2018It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since your passing. A day doesn’t go by that we don’t think of you, Herb. You are missed by both of us. Much Love, Cheryl & Bill
Posted by Gayle Cleland on 27th August 2018On the second anniversary of Herb’s passing we still find it sad to know that when we return to the Dunes this November he will not be there. He was a true friend and we so enjoyed his stories and our chats. It is comforting to know that he lived such a full, rich and active life right until the end. We miss you dear friend. We send our love to you Kathy and to Kristi as you are surely reflecting on Herb and what a remarkable man he was. Love, Gayle and Len
Posted by JIM BYRD on 12th March 2018I have great memories of skiing and talking with a great American hero, super skier and friend. You are very missed, Herb.
Posted by Wally Conway on 12th March 2018RIP My friend still think of you all the time
Posted by Gayle Cleland on 30th August 2017As Len and I plan for another winter in PCB at the Dunes we so often and fondly think of Herb. We have such wonderful memories of the close friendship that grew between us and Herb and Kathy. We miss you very much and all of the lively stories and conversations that we shared. I’m sure that your heaven has ski slopes, hiking trails and sailboats! We are thinking of Kathy and Kristi at this time.
Posted by Walter Barnes on 28th August 2017Herb, Miss ya! Your Buddy, Wally
Posted by Cheryl Mason on 27th August 2017Today is the first anniversary of Herb’s passing and we miss him as much today as when he left us. We have so many wonderful memories of our times together. Rest in peace, dear friend. Cheryl & Bill
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 6th May 2017What a great gift in memory of Herb. I could not watch much of it because of the tears in my eyes. Perhaps I will be able to watch more later. Thinking of Herb and how great our lasting friendship is very hard. I’m so glad you had this done. Thank you, Kristi. Love, Bob
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 6th May 2017Dearest Kathy, what a moving story in pictures. We were with you in spirit that day as we shared Herb’s story among the sailors in our marina. At sunset, we asked everyone to stand in Herb’s honor and Wally led a prayer. Herb’s life was celebrated that day by strangers who have their freedom to travel on sailboats in and out of America because of Herb and all of our military heroes. Neil was very proud to experience the honor with you and Kristi. Love to you, Connie and Wally
Posted by Norman Bild on 5th May 2017First class ceremony at ANC for a first class sky pilot attended by first class American patriots. In 1995 I visited Son Tay POW camp. I have a picture of me on the spot where Herb control crashed Banana One in front the prison cells. I gave copies to friends and families. I kept Lt. Gen Manor informed; he thought so highly of Herb. The NAMPOW/Raider reunion will be in New Orleans this November. Attend if you can. We will keep alive the spirit and memories of Herb’s good works in and out of the cockpit to inspire others to high flight. Blue skies always! Captain Norm Bild, USAF,(ret).
Posted by Dwayne Miller on 14th April 2017Mrs. Kalen & Kristi – took me awhile to compose my thoughts after talking with Kristi. The Colonel was a great man, mentor and instrumental in making me the man I am today. I met Kristi in grade school and had the opportunity to be around the Colonel when we were in high school. He taught me to be proud of my beginnings, where I came and from and not to be ashamed of what I had or not had, and to walk with my head up. He instilled in me what the essence of military bearing was and attention to detail in everything I did. Even though that was junior ROTC, those lessons I carried with me during my years of USMC service and beyond. I didn’t know it at that time but the love he showed for both of you is what I aspired for with my daughter. Thank you for allowing me into your family. My love and prayers are for both of you.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 11th April 2017We are home, dead tired as usual after one of our hikes with Herb. I feel as worn out as one of those challenging, but rewarding, adventures that you and Herb led us through many times. Could be we just trekked up into the Truchas and across that mile long ridge from which there seemed to be only cliffs to descend through. As always, Herb found a path out of the dilemma; down through a snow-filled chimney shallow enough to allow us to negotiate our way down safely. On this trip, as so often on others, Herb lifted us up to heights that I might never have known except for his leadership and your careful planning. We are grateful that you and Kristi made possible this experience for us to bid farewell to Herb. I realize that, except for having known you and Herb, I would never have been so privileged as to be a part of the Arlington experience. Truly, Kathy, thank you for allowing us this farewell. Dick and Linda
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 11th April 2017Connie Conway . April 7 at 2:42 pm · Today at 3:00 EDT, an American hero will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Herb Kalen was an enigma. He was a heroic USAF helicopter pilot who volunteered for a secret rescue mission to release POW’s in Vietnam. He was Prince Charming to me as a little 5 year old flower girl in his wedding to Kathy, a stunning Princess. He was Herb the Superb on the ski slopes and hiking trails. He was my friend and advisor as an adult. He was a hero to his family, his friends and to America. His legend will live on and I will cherish the void he leaves behind.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 11th April 2017Darlene St George-Galindez What a great family and group of friends! His daughter Kristi & I have been friends since the start of our own USAF careers. It was an honor to be able to attend the services and a pleasure to finally meet the people I have heard stories about for the past 24 years. God bless!
Posted by Ismail Zabih on 4th April 2017We were very blessed to have known such a remarkable man.
Posted by Robert Klimek on 12th March 2017Happy Birthday, Herb. I miss you, Bob
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 8th March 2017?Penni Davey? to Kathy Kalen September 19, 2016 · Kathy, We just heard about Herb, we couldn’t believe it. We so look forward to skiing with him each year. He’s our idle. He will be missed and you too! Love and Hugs to you!
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 2nd March 2017In the name, Colonel Herbert D Kalen, a tree is being planted in his honor in one of our National Forests. The gift comes from Ann A Huckaba. Your tree, a gift that endures, will help replenish a magnificent forest and preserve the habitat of the wildlife that call it their home. The Arbor Day Foundation
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 28th January 2017Major Kalen flew an Air Force “Jolly Green” rescue helicopter that pulled me from the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam on 2 July 1967 after my F-8 aircraft had been shot down. I don’t believe I ever adequately thanked him for my rescue. For those who read this tribute, know that Major Kalen and those like him who dedicated themselves to saving lives at great risk to themselves are the true heroes of that or any war. God bless him and may he rest in peace. Posted by: Col. Bruce Martin USMC (Ret). – York, ME – military Oct 10, 2016
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 28th January 2017I was stationed with Herb at Da Nang AB, RVN in 1967. I flew my first combat mission with him. I wrote an article for USAF Museum: Jolly Green Rescue near Quang Khe Ferry. The article is to be published in an upcoming edition of the USAF Museum Friends Journal, a quarterly publication. Herb was the 37th ARRS Standardization Officer. He was an outstanding pilot and officer. He was steady in his job and on his missions. I enjoyed my time with him and his quiet, but authoritative manor. I have two photos of Herb from Da Nang that I was unable to attach. One is a photo of him and his crew with the survivor they picked up in North Vietnam. I was also on that mission in another HH-3E Jolly: I was searching for the second pilot who we found that he was unable to eject from the F-4 aircraft. One photo includes the following people. Bob Bunker Co-Pilot, Survivor James Badley, Herb Kalen Aircraft Commander, William Carroll Flight Engineer, in door Donald Claudius Pararescue Specialist, (PJ), Photo from Charles Wells Collection, taken by his father Lt Col Joe Wells, 20 Nov 1967 Rich Blackwell
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 24th January 2017Hello Kathy, Herb was a very special man and I know you must still miss him very much, but I know the opportunity to place him with other war heroes will be very meaningful for you and your family. Right after I received news of Herb’s passing I was volunteering up at the DAV Memorial. One of my duties that day was to dust the display cases…..and I had the chance to re-read the articles about Herb. He was indeed a very special man. Love to you from us both, Valerie & Jim
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 24th January 2017I hope this note finds you well and that you are recovering from your loss. It is so difficult losing a loved one.. Last week when I was skiing with Debby, we were exchanging stories about Herb. He was such a good skier, and on one occasion he was teaching me to Ski in powder and I fell and it was Herb that picked me up. Herb had the capability of picking up everybody’s spirits around him. Take care. Cheers and Blessings, Gordon.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 24th November 2016I was most surprised in that I wasn’t aware he had any health issues. You guys have always been so active, guess I thought you’d be ‘going’ forever. What I enjoyed the most about Herb was that warm smile he always greeted me with. Added with it he always seemed to come up with a compliment that made me feel better. You guys were always together, with both of you having that glow that lighten up my day. One of my fondest memories is our evening out at the Italian restaurant there in Edgewater. It was such a treat! Please take care of yourself and know Barbara and I miss you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love ya, Larry Pittman
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016It was a shock to hear of Herb’s death. Somehow (despite his health problems) one felt he would go on forever. We remember first meeting Herb as an “old ski patroller on the ski mountain. We look back with pleasure at all the camping, trekking and skiing we have enjoyed with him and you over the years. Herb will be greatly missed. Love, Bernie and Paul
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016Kathy you and Herb were a part of our many memories in Angel Fire. Our first neighbors and many experiences with the Trekkers. He leaves with a very distinct trail. With sympathy and love, Anne
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016Kathy, I was saddened to hear about Herb. I have wonderful childhood memories of how you opened your home and cabin to me. Kristi and I had great times together. Thank you for the memories. Kristi, It was wonderful to reconnect with you I was so sorry that you have lost your father and mentor. He as quite an extraordinary man. Love, Holly
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016It was with great sadness we received the news of Herb’s death. We were so fortunate to see you a couple of years ago and enjoyed your visit. I am sure he is busy skiing in Heaven. Our thoughts are with you both. Fondly, Terry and Maureen
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016Words can’t say how I feel about the loss of two fine men. This photo says it all and I hope they meet again somewhere in Heaven! So sorry, Kris Young
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016Tom and I are so sorry to hear about Herb’s death. He was always so alive and active. He certainly met life head-on and enjoyed every bit that life could offer. So many memories of you and Herb! -hiking/camping trip to Gold Hill when you found Benje for Bill and Cheryl. -hiking Hermit’s Peak, with your reminiscing about camping on top, watching the lights of Las Vegas with martinis in hand (and mouth!} -remember all the ladybugs lighting up the area? -suppers with the Servant Event kids who worked on trails with the Trekkers. -Clearing stash from the greenbelt behind your house -and so many other hikes and camping trips. We certainly were blessed to have lived in Angel Fire, and you two were a big part of that. Blessings , Tom and Lydia Berrong
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th November 2016Bill and I are saddened by your loss. We have reminisced on times together, hiking, parties various and sundries visits. Did visit with Herb when he was here in January and he called Bill some months back. It is difficult to accept he has passed, but how much more difficult for you. Love and God bless, Ella and Bill
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 14th November 2016You lovingly included us in your home so many, many times. You also have brought so much to so many and you are truly loved by us and all who know you so well in Angel Fire. You’ve shared your love of hiking with your book, your love of gardening with your inspirational gardens, your love of country with your service, and most of all you have opened your heart to all of us in so many ways. We love you??? It was such a beautiful tribute to Herb to have his memorial on Veteran’s Day. He will be forever missed! We watched the respectful service at Arlington Cemetery for the Unknown Soldier and thought so much about Herb and his honorable service to our country. It is so perfect for Herb that he will rest in peace in Arlington, surrounded by the multitude of soldiers who shared his love of country. We truly would have loved to have been with you for the memorial. We looked again at the gallery on his website. Herb was always so much bigger than life. Looking at all the pictures in the online gallery today reminds us of his constant love for family, country, and friends. His energy and enthusiasm for adventure, skiing, sailing, hiking, camping and whatever else he set his goals on. He was an inspiration to us all. We have great memories of us all sitting around your dinner table and hearing about your adventures and fun together. We have the same warm feelings and memories of you. You lovingly included us in your home so many, many times. You also have brought so much to so many and you are truly loved by us and all who know you so well in Angel Fire. You’ve shared your love of hiking with your book, your love of gardening with your inspirational gardens, your love of country with your service, and most of all you have opened your heart to all of us in so many ways. Our lives and yours have been so intertwined over the years with so many precious memories of Herb, you, and Kristi. Herb was an amazing person–he was Herb Superb! And he loved his Kathy and Kristi more than words can tell. He was so proud of you both! He had a zeal for life, his family, his country and his friends. He has contributed so much to us and to all of your friends in Angel Fire. He was also honest and pure in his thoughts. We will miss him. He set goals, attained them and along his way, shared himself with others. And we who knew him well, know how much he had passion for life, skiing, hiking, traveling, sailing and the list goes on….There will never be a Herb. We love you, Lynne and Charlie
Posted by Marcia Wood on 4th November 2016I’ve lost my skiing idol. I could never beat Herb down Nice Day, but I always loved our conversations on the chair ride back up! Herb and Kathy will always be with us on the Angel Fire area hiking trails (and so will Kathy’s hiking book). We won’t forget Herb’s early (7 a.m.) Sunday phone call when we had the Chronicle: he urged us to get right over to photograph Kathy’s blooming tulips and daffodils bravely poking through an overnight spring snowstorm. It was a beautiful photo. What great folks. Herb was what living in the Sangres is all about. Hugs to Kathy and Kristi. – Guy and Marcia Wood
Posted by Deb/Chris Pein on 25th October 2016After several years of traveling to our home in Florida, we were so delighted to meet Herb, Kathy, and Kristi at a social get together that Kathy had enthusiastically initiated and held every Friday afternoon in the Community Room at Hibiscus! It was at one of these socials that we met Herb who we affectionately and respectfully, referred to as “Colonel”. Herb was an absolute pleasure to meet, as he shared his love for skiing with us. Since we also love skiing, we spent a considerable time discussing places we, all, had skied, ski equipment, and the joys of a sport we love! During this conversation, Colonel mentioned that he was planning to travel to their home in New Mexico to celebrate his 85th birthday, and that he planned to ski every day he was there! Chris and I looked at each other, and we both remarked to Herb–“You are our hero!” We were soooo impressed that he was so very active and celebrating his 85th birthday on the slopes! Little did we know at the time, that Colonel Herb Kalen was a true Vietnam War hero! In getting to know him, Kathy, and Kristi, we talked about his involvement in the Son Tay POW mission and he shared his copy of the book “The Raid: The Son Tay Prison Mission.” After reading this book and learning that the Colonel had flown a helicopter into the prison camp in an effort to rescue POWs, we gained an even greater respect for this courageous man. Chris, who also served in the Navy during the raid, remembered learning of this effort and how it played a significant role in boosting the morale of the POWs. Herb—YOU are OUR HERO! In February of 2015, Herb invited Chris and Pat Broderick, who also had an admirable career in the Navy, to go skiing with him in Angel Fire and to attend a military function. Chris has very fond memories of that trip, as they had a fun-filled week of “hitting the slopes!” Both Chris and Pat admitted that the Colonel was certainly an amazing skier and they remarked, “It was tough to keep up with the Colonel!” This past spring Chris and I were fortunate to go to the Wolf Preserve in Chipley with Herb, and Angie and Terry Brace. I will always have fond memories of that day, visiting the preserve, the quaint winery on the way, and then sharing pizza with all and the “love of his life,” Kathy, who joined us later that day. Colonel, we will forever miss your enthusiasm and vigor for life’s adventures, your smile that lit up every corner of the room, the love you exuded for Kathy, Kristi, and your beloved puppies, and the dedication and service that you so generously gave to our country. We are so very privileged to have known you and so very blessed to be your friends. You will be forever in our hearts ~May your spirit soar~ With our heartfelt sympathy, prayers, and love, Chris and Deb Pein
Posted by Linda Kirk on 23rd October 2016The first time I met Herb Kalen was in the elevator. He had a big Happy Grin on his face and we introduced ourselves. I said Herb may I call you “George Burns” You just have that big George Burns smile. From then on…. he was my “George Burns”. Always a smile and always ready to discuss Real Estate and many other subjects. There was never a boring moment when you were in this dear friend’s presence. The last moments we spent together was beside his bed and his only day of consciousness thru his hospital stay. He had a thousand questions after being in a coma for several days. I am so glad I was led to that hospital day. Herb, please know we will take care of Kathy and Kristi and that “You” are missed every day.
Posted by Kurt & Anneliese Dorbath on 19th October 2016Hiking with Herb will be so missed. All the many years we visited Eagle Nest and explored many of the surrounding area with Herb was so much FUN. He made the hikes so much more interesting. Looking forward to hiking again with him in heaven. Kathy will be in our prayers.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 5th October 2016I am so sad to hear of Herb’s passing. Even though we haven’t seen each other in a very long time, he remained very special to me. His parents were some of my favorite people while I was growing up and even though I only saw Herb a few times I have always adored him. I will always remember the time he was stationed at Westboro in Massachusetts and he flew one of his planes over our house really low then when straight up into the air and broke the sound barrier. It scared the whole town to pieces but my dad was thrilled and so were we. It is a special memory! Cyber Hugs, Gretchen Meuller Glaub
Posted by Sky Akman on 29th September 2016Herb, I work in the office where we manage his rental units. I will Miss his phone calls “Hey Sky its Herb” and him coming in and pulling up a chair just to chat, just his sincerity. I will miss you dearly herb, my thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 27th September 2016Linda Gimbel Hughes September 7 at 10:16pm For those Trekkers who weren’t at the August Social we wanted to let you know that Herb Kalen, one of the Founders of MV Trekkers, passed away August 27. To honor Herb, it was decided that the Trekkers would make a donation to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A collection was started & the Trekker treasury will supplement that collection in order to round out the donation dollar figure. If you’re interested in contributing, please send a check written out to Moreno Valley Trekkers: P.O. Box 1234, Angel Fire, NM 87710.
Posted by Dick & Boo McPeek on 26th September 2016Boo and I were surprised and sorry to hear of Herb’s passing. Speaking for all of us who skied with him, he was the embodiment of the Energizer Bunny – after spending the day, trying to keep up with him, and having just about enough energy left to get off the mountain – it was Herb who always said “just one more run – I know where there’s still some untracked powder”. I’ll miss our talk of politics while on the Chili Express or on our way to TSV. Most of all, I’ll miss seeing that faded red ski jacket on the slopes at AF.
Posted by Al & Pam Warren on 21st September 2016We met Herb (and Kathy) when we moved to Chino Terrace in Angel Fire. Herb, Kathy and a bottle of wine came over to greet us! It didn’t take us long to realize how fortunate we were to have such a dynamic couple as friends and neighbors. Herb LIVED every day of his 87 years. He was a force to be reckoned with–but what a joyful force. We will miss him terribly.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 21st September 2016Kat Pennington 4:10pm Aug 31 Kathy, Lee and I were so sorry to hear about Herb, he was a true hero not only to you, but to many, many others. Lee often includes Herb’s example of heroism, integrity and leadership in the military classes he instructs. We both loved and held the greatest respect for him. He was many things to many people; if I was asked to describe him, Herb was a humble warrior. We love you Kathy, and if there is anything at all we can do for you, at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Posted by Debby Welker on 20th September 2016I met Herb when we first moved to Angel Fire 7 years ago. Since then he has always served as a role model for me. I hope I can still ski when I am 86 years old. Our first encounter occurred on a Trekker snow shoe kike that he was leading one day after returning from Florida. The altitude was affecting him a little but I still could not keep up with him on the hike and I am more than 20 years his junior. And I certainly could not keep up with him when we skied together. He loved to ski the edges of the trails where there was still some fluffy powder snow. He would start at the top of the mountain and not stop till he reached the bottom – Incredible! After Don died he was kind enough to think of me and he invited me to ski with him once so I would not have to ski alone. Indeed a true hero! Don and I also enjoyed a dinner at your lovely home in Angel Fire that Herb cooked so he even knew his way around the kitchen. A remarkable man! I will miss him.
Posted by Kathryn Kalen on 20th September 2016Mike Bleacher Col Kalen, I honor you for your selfless service to our country. I hold your family in my thoughts and prayers as they suffer through your loss. Indeed the nation is lesser today and one hero short. Your story told to me by your daughter and my dear friend Kristi should serve as an inspiration to the American generations to come. We will risk everything to bring our fellow service members home. Now that the Lord has called you home, you can finally rest easy. You have finished the race. No greater love has a man than he lay down his life for his brother. May God welcome you with open arms and comfort your family and friends. Mike Bleacher St. Augustine
Posted by Stephanie Smith on 19th September 2016What a great life Herb and Kathy shared! Herb enjoyed life to the utmost and his adventures reflect that. It was scary following him down a ski trail but there was no one I’d rather follow. Here’s to your next adventure, Herb!
Posted by Georgette & Mike Gutch on 19th September 2016Herb was our neighbor and a good friend! We enjoyed his company and friendship. We are honored to have had the opportunity to get to know him. You will be tremendously missed! Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and Kristi!
Posted by Mary Boyd on 18th September 2016Herb Kalen was my neighbor for many years. He was a good friend and a true gentleman. I’m sure going to miss seeing him around Hibiscus on his daily walks carrying the wooden stick and stopping to say hello always with a smile and of course to discuss anything and everything ,our social gatherings, the economy etc. etc and of course the military. ..He truly will be missed. My prayers and support to Kathy and Kristie on the loss of a wonderful man. ….
Posted by Bill & Diane Mereness on 18th September 2016We miss our friend. He was a delight to be with either skiing, hiking or camping. We had great respect for his military stories and thank him for his many years of service!
Posted by Jim Thorne on 18th September 2016Herb was my hiking partner, my comrade in arms and my friend. I was terribly saddened to hear of his passing, but take some solace in knowing I will see him again at Arlington. Vaya con Dios my friend!
Posted by Lynette Friedemann on 17th September 2016Dear Kathy and Kristi, Sending our prayers. Herb will be missed. What an amazing, yet humble man. Kathy you were the wind beneath his wings. We will always cherish the memories of you both and how our lives were enriched by knowing you. His warm smile, his sense of adventure and his optimism will be forever etched in our memories. Our love, Alan and Lynette Friedemann, Angel Fire friends.
This tribute was added by Don Whitecotton on 17th September 2016He was a Hero of heroes, one who reaches out to others only a hero without trying to be one America will miss you, God Bless you and the USA that you loved!
This tribute was added by Dottie Marshall on 17th September 2016Kathy, Herb was certainly one of a kind. Enjoyed skiing and hiking with you both in Angel Fire. It is sad to know he is gone. Jack died last September so you have my sympathy. Love, Dotty
This tribute was added by Jay Strayer on 17th September 2016IN 1970, I shared the Son Tay Prison (attempt to rescue POWs from North Vietnam) raid with Herb, a splendid HH-3 pilot who landed his heli inside the prison camp knowing a tree would surely contact the rotor blades — all went well for him and his crew — sure sorry re his demise as I will too soon follow — my condolences to his family — Jay M Strayer, Colonel, USAF (Ret), Xenia, Ohio
This tribute was added by Carol & Marvin Leneave on 17th September 2016Over the years when Herb & Kathy came to visit us in Port Orange, Florida, we had many wonderful adventures thanks to Herb’s love of the outdoors & boundless energy. He arranged for us land lubbers to go on our first canoe trip which he guaranteed was a “piece of cake”! We almost landed in the river a couple times but managed to make it to the end still dry but shaky!!! Our next canoe trip was on a much calmer river in North Florida. We even took our dog Snoopy & son Brian who joined us in a kayak. Herb & Kathy had a time share in Naples, FL years ago & decided we should try to find out where Kathy & Marvin’s parents lived for a while on Marco Island. We were joined by Kristi, Cousin Scott & Brian & had a great adventure in a pontoon boat going through the archipelago searching the many islands for what we thought might be the place where they lived for a while. It was such fun & quite the adventure then some years later Herb rented another pontoon boat near Deland, FL which took us on the beautiful St. John’s River. At one point our dog Snoopy ended up alone on one end of the boat with the rest of us at the other end nearly sinking it. We blamed him for the near disaster & have laughed many times over the years at our close call! Marvin & I are so grateful to our adventurous brother-in-law for taking us out of our comfort zone so that we will always have wonderful, happy memories of our times together. You will be missed, Herb Kalen. We pray you will continue to find great hiking trails & snowy mountains to ski. To Kathy & Kristi we send our love & prayers.
This tribute was added by Richmond Neff on 17th September 2016Herb, I SO wanted to visit with you one more time. You out-foxed me just as you out skied me down the moguls. I will never forget how you led the four of us, you, Kathy, Isabella and I, along with that young kid with us, across that ridge in the Truchas and then down the snow filled chimney to the bottom of the mountain. One mile in 9 hours, we took. Just another day in Trekkers world. Rest Well, Dear Herb. And confound you for making me cry ! Thank you Kathy. It is tough, but God Bless you.
This tribute was added by Glenn & Marcia Weiderstei… on 17th September 2016We have such great memories of hiking with Herb and hearing his great stories. He was so passionate about life. We always remember the first hike with Herb — there he was — the first one at the end of the trek, sipping on a beer, enjoying the moment. What a great individual. He will be missed.
This tribute was added by Gayle Cleland on 17th September 2016To Kathy and Kristi – Len and I send you our love and deepest condolences. We met Herb and Kathy 16 years ago when they became our landlords at Long Beach in Panama City Beach. They both became so much more to us. They became family! We were always amazed at Herb’s tenacity and zest for life! He had such a full life with so many wonderful experiences in so many places. Kathy, this is a beautiful tribute to Herb and to the wonderful life that you two shared together! We always loved to hear Herb’s many stories. He accomplished so much in his full and adventurous life! He was such a military hero and yet was so humble about it all. We will miss him so much but I will always think of him racing down the ski hills! Kathy, he was so fortunate to have you as his life partner as you shared his love for adventure! Please try to remember all of those wonderful experiences! Herb, we will miss you dear friend! Happy hiking in Heaven!!!!
This tribute was added by Barb Zinn on 17th September 2016I was planning a long backpack through the mountains above Angel Fire and Herb and Kathy invited this total stranger into their lovely home and shared their extensive knowledge and love of the country with me. I will never forget their kindness and enthusiasm – true Trail Angels. Herb and Kathy – I backpacked over incredible Jicarita Peak last weekend and you were in my thoughts. Thanks again, and Herb, mark those new trails you are now following for us all.
This tribute was added by Bill Mason on 17th September 2016We’ll miss Herb! We shared a lot of good times: House boating in the Everglades and Utah; Canoeing and hiking in North Florida, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico; Traveling, hiking, backpacking all over; and plenty of good eating, drinking, and talking. Thanks for the good times Herb and Kathy!
This tribute was added by Laura Todd on 16th September 2016My dad, Alex Lupenski, always spoke so highly of Herb. He admired him greatly. He told of many skiing adventures and fun times. He will be very sad to hear of his passing. Our prayers for you, his family. The Lupenskis
This tribute was added by Kathryn Kalen on 13th September 2016I just wanted to offer my condolences and well wishes. Herb was an inspiration for me both on the trail and on the ski slopes. Even though he was moving more slowly during his latest visits to Angel Fire, it was always a pleasure to meet and chat with him. We will miss him. Cheers and Blessings, Gordon.
This tribute was added by June Ryan on 12th September 2016Herb is one of the “original” Angel Fire people my husband and I were privileged to meet on Trekker events. His big grin was infectious.
This tribute was added by Treva Baker on 10th September 2016My Memories of Herb, My husband and I met Herb and Kathy in 1997 and house sat for them for a month while they went to Alaska in their RV. We fell in love with Koki, the little black poodle. I remember that there were maps and more maps in their house–National Forest Maps — that was right down my husband’s alley as he had a Forestry Degree but this was the start of his dream of finally get to us it at age of 54ish. Lynn loved looking at maps w Herb and Kathy. For many years Herb and Kathy lead hikes–oh so much fun!!!! Herb could scamper up and down those mountains so fast!!!! Herb and Kathy were very instrumental in getting several nice groups started in the village of Angel Fire, Trekkers for one–they planned and built trails–and look at all of the trails that Angel Fire has now as other folks have continued using Herb and Kathy’s knowledge, skills and talents. Their fervor for the outdoors and nature was caught by others to continue their initial endeavors. It’s still happening today!! Herb always seemed happy and brightened ones day when seeing and talking to him. So glad that he got to experience life to the fullest, and that we were fortunate enough to meet him. Treva Baker
This tribute was added by Melinda Berke on 9th September 2016We met only a few years ago at The Dunes of Panama and visited each other a few times. We always had a fun time to hear Herb’s fascinating war stories. We remember him as a true hero and a good hearted man. We will miss him! Melinda and Les Berke
This tribute was added by John Wigington on 7th September 2016Suzy and I met Herb when he was trying to get his truck out of a snowy ditch in Angel Fire, in the mid 80’s. He was cheery even in a unpleasant situation. We helped him get out and he noticed the Air Force sticker on my car. We became instant friends. Herb led us on a memorable hike to Wheeler Peak one summer. He would ski us into the ground, even with an eye patch and suffering with shingles. We had plans to ski Utah in February or March of this year, but it did not work out. Herb was a true powder hound, who will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Kathy
This tribute was added by Pat Broderick on 5th September 2016Herb invited me to ski with him the winter before last at his real home in Angel Fire. I’m not sure if he was the former mayor but he was indeed the king of the mountain. His vision was waning and he had to wear a patch over one eye but he out-skied us all. Of course, we had to tell war stories, and drink a little wine. There is no way I can’t compete with Herb’s stories. Every Special Operator of my generation knows about the Son Tay raid, but Herb brought it alive. He asked me once if I ever had a good luck moment. Yeah, I did. My best good luck moment was to have known Herb. Pat Broderick, CWO4 (SEAL) USN (ret)
This tribute was added by Kathryn Kalen on 5th September 2016Beard Clear Sir? Shared by Royce Terrell on 09/02/2016 Herb, had a reputation for being somewhat of a hard ass stand eval. pilot that would cause lesser H- 3 pilots to quake in their boots, especially students. One day I was on the ramp at Hill AFB with a student pilot for his check ride and Herb was on a stand eval. visit to the 1550th. Herb was scheduled to check another crew so my student and I were somewhat relieved and were going about our checklist when we heard via the radio the other H-3 was having maintenance problems. I told my student not to worry Col. Kalen would stick with the other crew until they were good to go. WRONG!!! Before you could blink an eye Herb lept off the broken bird and ran lickety split right over to our bird and hopped in. Seeing that big grin on his face all I could think of to say was “Beard clear sir?” Everyone on the crew got a chuckle out of it but I had to explain to my student that the expression was in reference to Santa Claus. I still don’t think he got it but he did well on his check ride. Herb was the best! This is from Royce Terrell I thought it would be missed in stories.
This tribute was added by William Barnes on 5th September 2016I’ve known Herb for about 45 years since I was 16, when he took my dad and I for our first trip to Alta. He was the strongest skier we ever knew and it was always just so free and pure fun. Been skiing of and on ever since. Never got tired of those stories and adventures of the fixes they managed to get themselves into. I was truly honored to have him as a friend. Not many young people are privileged to have heroes of consequence in their lives. I was so fortunate to have my dad and Herb, and so many others, with such bravery and selflessness to go right into the teeth of the danger to save others. To this day, men are alive because of men like Herb and all those others. But man, wasn’t there something special about Herb! I was so proud to introduce him to my wife and friends, and coworkers and anybody who was around when he’d pop through Price. And then when he’d left I’d explain what a big deal that was about who they just got to meet and they are always amazed upon hearing about Son Tay. It was so meaningful to me to know Herb and my dad were such good friends. That USAF pilot fraternity – the strongest and best I’ve seen. When mom and dad called with the news, dad and I cried like little girls. We miss him. It was a rare moment of intimacy that dad shared a story about how they’d reciprocate visiting and looking after one another when they’d done something our other or had a health issue. Two old warriors in bathrobes cooking breakfast for each other and Herb just started crying followed by my dad. That’s some rare friendship and love, forged in the crucible of shared careers, dangers, and life experiences embodied in the sheer freedom and fun they experienced with each other. I promise you Kathy and Kristi, we will always remember Herb. He is everything a man ought to be.
This tribute was added by Bill Chapman on 5th September 2016Herb always prepared when reaching the top of a MV Trekker hike with his cold beer wrapped in foil and a twinkle in his eye!
This tribute was added by Donny Wurster on 4th September 2016Herb Kalen was a name that every young HH-3E pilot learned and knew among the helicopter pilots of my generation. Though we did not know him personally, each of us learned the limitations of the HH-3E and marveled at his skill to draft on the HC-130 to Son Tay and then to safely put that machine into a spot where everybody knew it was going to stay…and that he would instantly turn into a ground combatant. He represented a generation of skilled, courageous, and dedicated men who built the reputation of the Jolly Green Giant and it’s enduring legacy of combat rescue. Nearly all of the HH-3E pilots have left active duty. One recent retiree who grew up in the HH-3E was Maj Gen Mike Kingsley. Another HH-3E pilot who is currently serving as the vice commander of Air University is Maj Gen Tim Leahy. Thank you to Herb and the other respected and valorous pilots, crews, and maintainers of the HH-3E…you set the bar high. Those who followed you in the mission of rescue and special operations hope you have found our service to be worthy of your example. Fair skies Herb Kalen, and thank you. Lt Gen Donny Wurster, USAF, ret Former AFSOC commander, and HH-3E pilot.
This tribute was added by Julie Alford on 4th September 2016“My heart goes to Mrs. Kathy and Kristin. This man who was loved by so many had the heart of gold and always there with helping hand. He would always take my cart back and always eager to help any way he could. Heaven truly gained an angel. He will be missed. He would always be walking or going swimming, always exercising. He would always smile and say how you doing. He would at times say jokes and laugh so hard. Mr. Herb I am going to miss you and your smiles and helping hand. I will check on Mrs. Kathy and Kristin every now and then to make sure they are okay. “Lots of love!!
This tribute was added by Charmaine Gahr on 4th September 2016Herb was the best example of living the fullest as long as possible. A good hearted man with many talents. We meant Herb at a dumpster in Angel Fire, NM when he seen our canoe on our truck and he wanted to know where we going to canoe, became a good friend afterwards. Herb will be greatly missed. Love and prayers to Kathy and Kristi.
This tribute was added by Cheryl Mason on 4th September 2016What beautiful memories we have of Herb and we’ll miss him every day. All our wonderful hiking trips, our Hawaii trip, and so many other special times with such a happy person who lived every day to its fullest and lighted up the room whenever he came in. He’s our hero! Prayers for Kathy and Kristi.
This tribute was added by Tim Revis on 2nd September 2016I am blessed to be able to call Herb my friend, I think of him as a hero and will miss him and his stories and being able to shake his hand every day and see that smile. God Bless Kathy and Kristiand breaking the sound barrier just to say hello. His and Kathie’s surprise visit to our home in Florida in 2009. I will miss Herb. My great Hero cousin.
This tribute was added by Judy Knowles on 2nd September 2016How many times have I been greeted with Herbs awesome open and welcoming grin! (Image #75). So grateful to have known this warm and wonderful man. He will be missed by many! Love and prayers to Kathy and Kristi
This tribute was added by Julie Morris on 2nd September 2016I’ve only known Herb since last November. My favorite memory of him is every time he started to talk he would say, “I’m going to tell you some stories, and most of them are true. ” It made me laugh every time! I’ve only been in Florida for a little over a year, and Herb, Kathy, and Kristi have “adopted” me and been so warm and inviting. May happy memories heal your hearts!
This tribute was added by Walter Barnes on 1st September 2016Kathy & Kristi, our thoughts and prayers are with you, as you well know Herb was a special friend and person. He certainly lived life his way, as the song goes. I cherish our ski memories and will truly miss Herb Superb. A & W
This tribute was added by Connie Conway on 1st September 2016I love this man like a father. As the flower girl in his wedding over 50 years ago, he is still a Prince in my eyes. Love and prayers to Kathy and Kristi
This tribute was added by Butchie Landolfi on 31st August 2016Herb. my friend Rest In Peace. You absolutely” DID IT Yout Way” You will be missed, We had so much fun when we were there and got you a toe ring You actually wore it with us, Just shows what a sport you were. My thoughts and prayers will be with Kathy and Kristi
©2023 USAF Rotorheads All Rights Reserved | Financial Statement