Killian, Melvin Joseph, Col

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1965-1973, MIA Vietnam
Service Years
1940 - 1965
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt John Paul Jones, Sr. (JJ) to remember Killian, Melvin Joseph, Col.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Last Address
Takhli RTAFB, Thailand

Casualty Date
Sep 30, 1965
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
02E 099

 Official Badges 

Central Command Headquarters Air Force Commander

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Command)
Parachutist (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Iowa Air National GuardUS Army (USA)Officer Candidate School (OCS)52nd Troop Carrier Squadron
439th Airlift Wing - Patriot Wing91st Ferrying SquadronTroop Carrier UnitsHeadquarters Command (HQ USAF)
68th Fighter-Interceptor SquadronFighter-Interceptor Units33rd Air Division509th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
4th Tactical Fighter Wing334th Tactical Fighter SquadronUS Air Force
  1940-1942, Iowa Air National Guard
  1940-1942, US Army (USA)
  1940-1942, Officer Candidate School (OCS)
  1945-1946, 52nd Troop Carrier Squadron
  1945-1946, 439th Airlift Wing - Patriot Wing
  1945-1946, 91st Ferrying Squadron
  1945-1946, 46th Troop Carrier Squadron
  1946-1948, 317th Troop Carrier Group
  1948-1952, Headquarters Command (HQ USAF)
  1953-1954, 68th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1954-1958, Fighter-Interceptor Units
  1958-1960, 33rd Air Division
  1960-1963, 509th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1963-1965, 4th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1963-1965, 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1965-1973, MIA Vietnam
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1950-1953 Korean War
  1961-1973 Vietnam War
  1994-1994 Operation Southern Watch (Iraq)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
AT-6 Texan  C-46 Commando  C-47 Skytrain/Dakota  C-119 Flying Boxcar  
T-33 Shooting Star (T-Bird)  F-86 Sabre  F-86 Sabre  F-100 Super Sabre  
F-102 Delta Dagger  F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)  
  1944-1945, AT-6 Texan
  1945-1946, C-46 Commando
  1945-1946, C-47 Skytrain/Dakota
  1948-1952, C-119 Flying Boxcar
  1950-1951, T-33 Shooting Star (T-Bird)
  1953-1954, F-86 Sabre
  1954-1958, F-86 Sabre
  1960-1963, F-100 Super Sabre
  1960-1963, F-102 Delta Dagger
  1963-1965, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Melvin Killian was born on January 31, 1922, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He enlisted in the Iowa National Guard on Feburary 14, 1940, and went on active duty to attend Infantry Officer candidate School at Fort Benning Georgia on August 5, 1942.  Killian graduated OCS with a commision as a 2nd LT. in the Infantry Branch of the U. S. Army on Feburary 5, 1943, and transferred to the US Army Air Corps on October 21, 1943, to attend pilot training.

Lt. Killian was awarded his pilots wings at Ellington Field Texas on September 8, 1944, and then served at George Field, Illinois, until transfering to the China-Burma-India Theater in March 1945. Killian returned to the US in August 1945, and served with the 91st Troop Carrier Squadron of the 439th Troop Carrier Group until April 1946, when he transferred to the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing at Bergstrom Field, Texas.

His next assignment was with the 46th Troop carrier Squadron of the 317thTroop Carrier Group at Tachikawa AB, Japan, from August 1946 to October 1952.  After completing additional training, Capt Killian served with the 68th Fighter Intercepter Squadron (FIS) in South Korea from March 1953 to September 1954.  He then transferred to the 15th FIS at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, where he served from Setember 1954 to June 1958, followed by service on the staff of Headquarters Central Air Defense Force and then on the staff of the 33rd Air Division at Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri, from June 1958 to December 1960. 

Maj Kiillian next served as Operations Officer and then Commander of the 509th FIS at Clark AB in the Phillippines from December 1960 to December 1963, followed by service as Commander of the 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, from December 1963 unti he was shot down over North Vietnam on September 30, 1965, while on temporary duty at Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand.

The 334th was assigned to the 6235th TFW (P)  and arrived in county on 28 Aug 1965 as part of Operation Two Buck 13. Col. Killian while leading a bombing mission near the Ninh Binh bridges earned the unfortunate distinction of piloting the first F-105 to be destroyed and lost by a SAM over North Vietnam. Col Killian was listed as missing in action until Mary 14, 1973, when his status was changed to killed in action.  His remains were returned to the U.S. on March 20, 1985, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The 334th TFW returned to Seymor Johnson AFB in Feb. 1965, without their Squadron Commander, five months after it's arrival in Southeast Asia. During it's five months of Combat Service the 334th flew a total of 6,031 hours, of which 5,488 on 2,204 sorties were Combat Flying Hours. They dropped 9,920 tons of bombs, and fired 17,031 2.75 in. rockets together with 351,547 round of ammo. Of the 27 pilots in the Squadron, three were shot down but rescued. The remaining 24 pilots achieved an average of 90 Combat missions each. Col. Melvin J. Killian, Squadron Commander, was the only member of the 334th not to return.

Colonel Killian was shot down over North Vietnam on 30 September 1965 while flying an F-105D Thunderchief(Thud). His remains were recovered and returned home in 1985. His grave is in Arlington Cemetery where he lies beside his wife and 2 sons. 

Air Force Cross

Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Colonel Melvin Joseph Killian, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-105 aircraft of the 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in action over North Vietnam on 30 September 1965.

On that date, Colonel Killian led a flight of F-105 aircraft against a highly significant military target. Colonel Killian proceeded on an unerring course to the target area. Arriving ahead of the main flight, he began an aerial survey of the area in order to give final navigational assistance to the incoming flight. Although subjected to intensive hostile ground fire, Colonel Killian flew his aircraft over the gun emplacements while giving encouragement and directions as each pilot braved the withering ground fire.

His overwhelming desire for successful mission completion, and his concern for the safety of each pilot forced him to disregard his own personal safety while continuously flying within range of the ground fire. His outstanding dedication to duty, superior initiative, and mission performance resulted in the destruction of numerous hostile ground positions of vital significance to the Viet Cong. Colonel Killian's actions and courage are in keeping with the highest traditions of the American fighting man under attack by an opposing armed force.

Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, in the dedication of his service to his country, Colonel Killian has reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: September 30, 1965
Service: Air Force
Rank: Colonel
Company: 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Division: Takhli Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand

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