Kenneth R. Hughey
POW 1967 – 1973
Name: Kenneth Raymond Hughey
Rank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 480th TFS
Date of Birth: 22 May 1932
Home City of Record: Seal Beach CA
Date of Loss: 06 July 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 2143300 North 1060300 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Missions: 106 North Vietnam — Total 564
Other Personnel in Incident: Melvin Pollack, returnee
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors). UPDATE – 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
Shot Down: July 6, 1967
Released: March 4, 1973
Ken Hughey was born 22 May 1932 in Chic, Tennessee, a rural community in the
Mississippi River Delta. He attended rural public schools and graduated from
Dyersburg High School in Dyersburg, Tennessee in 1949. Shortly after
graduation he enlisted in the USAF, spent four years in radar maintenance
and then attended pilot training and graduated in class 54-B at Williams
In December 1953 he married his high school sweetheart, Sue Austin. They
have one child, a son, Kent, aged nine. Ken, Sue and Kent currently reside
in Seal Beach, California. Ken graduated from the University of Colorado in
1963 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering under the sponsorship of the Air
Force Institute of Technology. Ken’s jobs in the Air Force have included:
F-86D interceptor instructor; flight test maintenance officer; Air Force
Systems Command assignments as a project officer for space weapons and
project officer for lifting re-entry vehicles; Forward Air Controller (FAC)
in South Vietnam and F-4C aircraft commander in Southeast Asia. He flew a
total of 564 combat sorties in Southeast Asia including 106 over North
Vietnam. He was shot down 40 miles north of Hanoi on 6 July 1967 and was
released on 4 March 1973.
His next assignment will be to California State University at Long Beach as
a graduate student in English literature. This is a preparatory program for
duty in University ROTC under Air Force Institute of Technology sponsorship.
Kenneth Hughey retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
his wife Sue reside in California.
KENNETH R. HUGHEY is a veteran and ex‐P.O.W. He enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 17, eventually climbing to become a combat pilot achieving the rank of Colonel. His fighter pilot experience includes 564 combat missions in South East Asia with 106 missions over North Viet Nam.
While leading a flight of F‐4 Phantoms, Ken was shot down by Anti Aircraft Artillery and captured on July 6, 1967, ejecting with his “back-seater” and taken almost immediately to a POW prison. As a prisoner, he was transferred between four prisons over six years, including the Ha Noi Hilton, spending 14 months in a one-man cell; of which five months was in complete isolation. His wife did not even know he was alive for 3 ½ years of his captivity. Ken was not released until March 4, 1973.
Ken’s military decorations include: Two Silver Stars; Legion of Merit; Three Distinguished Flying Crosses; Two Bronze Stars; Thirty Air Medals; and Four Purple Hearts.
After his retirement from the United States Air Force, he worked for 15 years as a Senior Engineer and Project Manager at Hughes Aircraft Company where his main job was to provide logistics and engineering support for launching government satellite programs.
During his tenure at Hughes, Ken began law school. He passed the California Bar Exam before he graduated from law school. He then joined the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office as a Criminal Prosecutor. From 1998 until 2011, Ken prosecuted thousands of criminals, including hundreds involving gang activities.