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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Kendall Parker Smith, Colonel, USAF (Retired)June 28, 1924 – January 11, 2012
Colonel Kendall Parker Smith, 87, of Londonderry, died on January 11, 2012 at his home. He was part of the sixth generation of his family in Londonderry – born June 28, 1924, the son of Cora (Lurvey) Smith and Fred H. Smith.
He attended local schools and graduated from Pinkerton Academy in 1942. After completing a semester of college at the University of New Hampshire, he was drafted into the Army in 1943. Ken volunteered for training as an Aviation Cadet and became rated as a bombardier. He flew 25 bombing missions over Japan in a B-29 Superfortress, including the final daylight and night missions of the war. Post-World War II, Ken mustered out of the Army Air Corps and became a Londonderry policeman. He later served in the State Police while continuing his studies.
Two weeks after Ken married Lorraine Simons of Manchester on February 17, 1951, he reported for duty at Mather Air Force Base in California, having been recalled to active duty for service in the Korean War. He flew 30 combat missions over North Korea in 1951 and 1952, again as a B-29 bombardier. Ken remained on active duty from 1951 until his retirement from the Air Force in 1973. He earned his pilot’s rating in 1954, flew helicopters for five years, then transitioned to the C-130 Hercules for the remainder of his career. He flew more than 200 C-130 sorties during three combat tours in South East Asia during the Vietnam War.
Ken was a patriot who loved the outdoors, horses, hunting, flying airplanes and the Red Sox. During his 25-year Air Force career, Ken was rated and qualified as an aerial gunner, bombardier, aircraft observer, command pilot and helicopter pilot. He logged almost 8000 hours of military flying time, including 3000 hours as a C-130 pilot, 1500 hours as a helicopter pilot and 1600 hours in combat during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Among his 23 individual and unit decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals and twelve Air Medals. Ken also earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1965.
Ken’s family includes Lorraine, his wife of nearly 53 years, who pre-deceased him in 2003; their children, Karen Smith of Londonderry, Rhonda Smith, who died in 1995, Jeffrey Smith and his wife, Laura, of Dawson Springs, Kentucky; their granddaughter Amanda Moore and great-grandson Dylan Moore of Huntsville, Alabama. Ken’s siblings, all deceased, are sisters Dorothy Holton, Norma Kwist and Lois Ramsey and his brother, Russell Smith.
Calling hours for Colonel Smith will be held on Sunday, January 15th from 1 – 4pm at the Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium, 290 Mammoth Road, Londonderry. Funeral services will be held on Monday at 10:00am in the funeral home with Reverend Douglas Rickard officiating. Committal services will follow at Pine grove Cemetery, Brown Avenue, Manchester.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Ken’s memory to the Nongame Program, NHF&G, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301 ( make checks payable to NHF&G/Nongame program).
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