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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Matthew D. Kirkpatrick, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)June 30, 1929 – October 08, 2004
Lt. Col. Matthew D. Kirkpatrick, 75, of Bainbridge, GA died Friday, October 8, 2004 at Archbold Medical Center in Thomasville, GA. Funeral services will be held Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church with Dr. Leroy C. Spinks and Dr. Charles Jones officiating. Interment will follow in Oak City Cemetery.
In lieu of Flowers Contributions may be made to: American Cancer Society, C/O Karon Elwell, 1900 Liz Felty Lane, Bainbridge, GA. 39817 or the charity of your choice. Online visitors may sign the guest register at www.iveyfuneral.com
Matthew D. Kirkpatrick was born on June 30, 1929 in Ensley (Birmingham), AL. He moved to Lima, Ohio in late 1940 where he was a graduate with College Preparatory Course in 1948. He graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, RI. in June 1950 and from the U.S. N.A., Annapolis, MD., with a B. S. Degree in 1954. He came to Bainbridge, GA., as a A.F. Second Lieutenant in August 1954 and married Wyllene Powell on February 19, 1955. He graduated from Academic Instructor School in July 1961. He was an outstanding graduate from Air War College, Seminar Program in August 1973. He received his master’s degree in Political Science from Auburn University in August 1974 and his A.B.D., Doctor of Education (EdD) in Administration and Supervision from Auburn University in March 1978. He returned to Bainbridge in 1981 and bought the house his wife was born in. Mr. Kirkpatrick taught at Eclectic High School in Eclectic, AL, Bainbridge High School, Hutto Junior High School and Bainbridge College. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, the Republican National Committee and the VFW #4904. See www.geocities.com/pentagon/base/6850/
Survivors include his wife, Wyllene Powell Kirkpatrick of Bainbridge, GA; 2 sons, Matthew (Lorinda) Kirkpatrick of Bainbridge, GA., and Robert Powell Kirkpatrick of Tallahassee, FL.; a brother, William Kirkpatrick of Lima, OH.; a sister, Juanita Hortsman of Hamilton, MS.; 4 grandchildren: Caylor Melanie Kirkpatrick and Kamryn Madison Kirkpatrick, both of Bainbridge, GA., Joseph Edward Kirkpatrick who is stationed in the armor division in Iraq and Jessica Michelle Kirkpatrick of Colorado Springs, CO.
~ REMEMBRANCE ~
I met Lt. Col. Matthew D. Kirkpatrick in late 1969 while I was stationed at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, with the 21st Special Operations CH-3E helicopter squadron. Then, Maj. Kirkpatrick was a member of the 20th Special Operations CH-3E squadron; known by the name “Pony Express”, which was merged into the 21st SOS. I flew with Maj. Kirkpatrick on combat missions into Laos & Vietnam and was always pleased when I was assigned to his crew for missions. Maj. Kirkpatrick was a very professional CH-3E pilot and was very skillful about operating the helicopter, often at the max limits of its performance. I remember the trust I had in him and knew he would always make the right decisions to ensure the safe completions of our mission. I also remember that he had a great sense of humor and could be counted on to come up with some prank or joke to add to squadron unity and esprit de corps.
In 2004 I discovered that Lt. Col. Kirkpatrick had retired and was living in Bainbridge, GA., about three hours from where I live. I had made email contact with him and was making plans to go and see him. However before I could finalize my plans for a visit, I received word from his son, Joe, that he was hospitalized and undergoing chemo therapy for cancer. After his treatments and his return home I was again making plans to try to visit him, but before I could make the trip, he took a turn for the worse and passed away on October 8, 2004.
I did make the trip to Bainbridge, GA. on October 14, 2004, sadly to pay my respects and attend his services and interment. Lt. Col Kirkpatrick received full military honors at his service and interment.
After the interment services I was able to meet his wife, his sons and his family. His son Joe and I still correspond to this day. Joe maintains his Dad’s web site and has provided information and photos for me to use in my stories, as well as providing information to the ‘ROTORHEADS’ web site. Joe has added a link to the ‘ROTORHEADS’ web page on his Dad’s 20th SOS web site. The Colonel’s web site has some great stories and photos and can be seen at http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Base/6850/. The first thing you see when you link to his web site is a picture which clearly shows the Colonel’s sense of humor…an outstanding and fitting tribute.
It was an honor for me to have known and flown with Lt. Col. Kirkpatrick. One of the finest Officers and Pilots I was ever privileged to serve with. He was an honorable patriot and a true warrior. He served his country, his family and his community in the best tradition of a citizen of the United States of America.
God rest his soul.
Jim BurnsMarch 25, 2007
I never had the honor or the pleasure of meeting Lt Col Kirkpatrick but from what I have read and heard he was an outstanding Air Force Officer, a superb helicopter pilot and a true gentleman.
I have read the many stories on his web site that his son Joe so honorably maintains, and have to agree with Jim Burns that he was a person who could find humor in most anything. I am certain he was a person who could instill the desire of those around him to do their very best regardless of the circumstances. Morale was most certainly high when Lt Col Kirkpatrick was on the scene.
A fine person and he is sadly missed by all that knew him. The memory of him will be there through the efforts of his son Joe in maintaining his website. He is looking down and is rightfully proud of Joe’s efforts.
Jim MooreMarch 25, 2007
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