Heggen, Keith Russell, Col

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1435A-Air Operations Officer
Last AFSC Group
Air Operations
Primary Unit
1972-1972, 1421A, 72nd Strategic Wing (Provisional)
Service Years
1952 - 1972

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Heggen, Keith Russell, Col.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Renwick, Iowa
Last Address
Andersen AFB, Guam

Casualty Date
Dec 26, 1972
Hostile, Died while Captured
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01W 100

 Official Badges 

Combat Crew Air Force Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Aviator (Command)

 Unit Assignments
Aviation Cadet Flight SchoolStrategic Air Command (SAC)346th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy367th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
340th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy97th Bomb WingUS Air Force
  1953-1954, M 0273, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1954-1957, 1021A, Strategic Air Command (SAC)
  1957-1961, 1021A, 346th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1961-1970, 1021A, 367th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1970-1970, 1021A, 340th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1970-1972, 1435A, 97th Bomb Wing
  1972-1972, 1421A, 72nd Strategic Wing (Provisional)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1973 Operation Arc Light
  1972-1972 Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (1972-73)/Operation Linebacker I
  1972-1972 Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (1972-73)/Operation Linebacker II
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-29 Superfortress  B-47 Stratojet  B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)  
  1954-1954, B-29 Superfortress
  1954-1957, B-47 Stratojet
  1957-1972, B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Col. Heggen was in the lead aircraft of a three-ship cell launched from Andersen AFB, ("Olive 1", a B-52G #58-0198) Guam. The purpose of the mission was to bomb enemy targets near Hanoi, North Vietnam.

Entering the target area, the force encountered heavy surface-to-air missile (SAM) fire. At 6:10AM, Local Vietnam Time, Colonel Heggen's aircraft was hit and instantly exploded into flames. Col. Heggen was in the instructor pilot's seat in the upper compartment and would have had to use the Navigator's hatch in the lower compartment to leave the aircraft. The aircraft commander saw Colonel Heggen starting down the stairs, presumably to bail out, but the aircraft was in a steep dive with rapidly increasing airspeed.

Colonel Heggen was able to clear the burning aircraft and parachuted to safety. Listed as Missing-In-Action (MIA) Col. Heggen, however gravely injured, was captured by the Viet Cong and taken to a hospital were Colonel Heggen died of his injuries, 26 December 1972.

Pilot:Col James Yoshikazu Nagahiro, PoW
Co-pilot:Capt Donovan Keith Walters, KIA
Lt Col Keith Russell Heggen, (Deputy Airborne Commander) PoW
Nav:Capt Lynn Richard Beens, PoW
EWO:Capt Robert Ray Lynn, KIA
Rad/Nav:Major Edward Harvey Johnson, KIA
AG:A1C Charles "Chuck" James Bebus, KIA

He had been stationed at Blytheville AFB (Eaker AFB) in Arkansas with the 97th Bombardment Wing prior to duty in SEA where he was attached to the 72nd Strategic Wing for the Linebacker II, serving TDY as the Deputy Airborne Mission Commander-TDY on the mission in which he was wounded and later died.



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