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SSGT Kenneth Leroy "Kenny" Cunningham
Birth: Jan. 21, 1948
Albion
Edwards County
Illinois, USA
Death: Oct. 3, 1969
Kon Tum
Kon Tum, Vietnam

In Loving Memory ... SSgt Kenneth Leroy Cunningham.
*** I visit your headstone every time I come home & also visit your mom at the nursing home.
*** Staff Sergeant Cunningham was a member of 225th Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. On October 3, 1969, he was the observer in a Grumman Mohawk Aircraft (OV-1C) on an early evening surveillance mission in the tri-border area of Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam. Contact was lost and the aircraft was found two days later on top of a 7,000 foot peak in a mountain range north of Kontum. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.


You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in me, your brother, sisters and those who knew you and loved you. You will live on because we remember you!


KENNETH LEROY CUNNINGHAM - Army - SSGT - E6
Age: 30
Race: Caucasian
Date of Birth Jan 21, 1948
From: ELLERY, IL
Religion: PROTESTANT
Marital Status: Single - Kenneth's father, Arthur Neal Cunningham (birth April 16, 1916), passed away unexpectedly on May 24, 1988. He is buried in the same cemetery next to Kenneth. Kenneth's mother, Margaret Cunningham, is alive and still lives in the Albion area. She will be 94.

***** This would be good to add to his bio--the last thing he asked his baby brother to do.
Dave Cunningham of Fairfield, Illinois was 12 when his brother's plane went missing.
"The news is sort of bittersweet," Dave said. "We now know that he died at the crash site and not in a concentration camp. What we still don't know is if his plane was shot down. It was very foggy and rainy the night his plane disappeared. They may have just flown into the side of the mountain. What we know now closes a chapter, but not the book."
"I still remember the last thing that Kenneth asked me to do at the airport before he left for Vietnam," Dave said. "He asked me to take care of mom and dad."
Cunningham's father, Arthur Neal Cunningham died in 1988. His mother, Margaret Cunningham, died in April of last year at the age of 96.
"Mom never gave up hope," Dave said. "Growing up, we lived in a very small house and slept in the same bed. We had a lot of nighttime talks. He was nine years older than me, so I remember him taking me places when he was home on leave. He took me places like a big brother would places I normally wouldn't have been able to go."
Survivors include two brothers, Dave Cunningham of Fairfield and Arthur Cunningham, Jr. of Jasonville, Indiana, and a sister, Ruth Barnett of Samsville, Illinois.
Hawkfinger

***** I still remember the last thing that Kenneth ask me to do at the airport before he left for Nam.He ask me to take care of mom and dad
David Cunningham
He is my brother

***** Eddieb - E-Mail - Thursday, October 18, 2012 12:11 PM My uncle does not have a town/state listed for his memorial/burial plaque. His body was never found or returned to the family, however, the military issued plaque and (possibly) a family purchased headstone can be located at Little Prairie Christian Church Cemetery in Albion, IL. I can provide a photo in the future-on my next trip home if you need one. I am his maternal niece from his only sister and would be happy to provide any missing information or
***Kenneth's father, Arthur Neal Cunningham (birth April 16, 1916), passed away unexpectedly on May 24, 1988. He is buried in the same cemetery next to Kenneth. Kenneth's mother, Margaret Cunningham, is alive and still lives in the Albion area. She will be 94 at the end of this month. Hope this provides you with some more information. Thank you for your time and work on my uncle's page; it means a lot.
Sincerely,
Kathy Barnett

***** ( Picture ) - Oh Brother how we miss you everyday I wish You could see your Niece and Nephews. Here is your 3rd grade picture, after a friend of mine gave me this picture, it brought back loving memories of our growing up years, oh what loving memories they are. I always remember you especially on your birthday and the holidays. I know how happy you must have been when you and Dad met again. I have seen your name on the moving wall and I feel much closer to you again.
With much love, Your loving sis.
Ruth Barnett

***** To those of you who met him briefly, served with him or wore his bracelet, we as the family thank you for your thoughts and prayers. His mother is still living and still wears his bracelet so that she may never forget the one she loved.
Junior Cunningham
He is my brother

***** You are talked about frequently and missed dearly by your family. Although we never met we share a couple of things in common, the love of your sister (my mom) and our birthdays.
Kathy Barnett-Geier, niece



SSGT - E6 - Army - Selective Service
1st AVN BDE
His tour began on Oct 3, 1969
Casualty was on Sep 5, 1978
In KONTUM, SOUTH VIETNAM
Non-Hostile, died missing, FIXED WING - NONCREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND

Body was not recovered
Panel 17W - Line 33


Other Personnel In Incident: Paul L. Graffe (missing)



On October 3, 1969, 1Lt. Paul L. Graffe, pilot; and PFC Kenneth L. Cunningham, observer; departed Phu Hiep, South Vietnam.

The aircraft (serial #61-02679) failed to return at the scheduled time. The last radio contact with Graffe and Cunningham was at 1800 hours when another OV1 aircraft had been informed by Grasse that they were going to continue
their mission for about 30 more minutes, and then begin the return trip to Phu Hiep.

All further attempts at electronic contact with the missing OV1 were unsuccessful.

On the morning of October 5, search and rescue aircraft located the wreckage of an aircraft atop a 7,000 foot peak in a mountain range north of the city of Kontum.

This wreckage was positively identified as that of Graffe and Cunningham. Efforts were made to insert a ground team at the site on October 5 and 6, but inclement weather prevented the team from being inserted.

On neither occasion was either visual or electronic contact made with the downed crew.

On the morning of October 7, another attempt was made to insert a ground SAR team. However, the SAR pilots noticed a change in position in the aircraft wreckage, and the SAR aircraft was receiving continuous beeper signals from
the ground. Since this continuous beeper signal was not compatible with established emergency radio procedures, the SAR flight leader directed that the site was probably a trap and withdrew from the area.

Both crew members were declared Missing In Action.


**********************************************

CPT Graffe died at age 27 while piloting OV-1 Mohawk SN 61-02679 for the 225th Aviation Company on a surveillance mission out of Phu Hiep, RVN, on 3 October, 1969, crashed at the 7,000 ft. level of a mountain peak north of Kontum, in inclement weather. Capt. Graffe was accompanied by his observer, SSG Kenneth L. Cunningham. Both crew members are still listed as MIA. The aircraft, call sign, Phantom Hawk 01, departed Phu Hiep during the early evening hours on a mission to gather intelligence in Military Region II in the Dak To-Dak Pek area which was believed to be heavily infested with enemy forces. The last radio contact with the crew had been made by another OV-l crew who said that Graffe had advised them that he was extending his mission for 30 minutes before returning to base. The aircraft was located on October 5th. Search teams could not reach the area on the 5th and 6th of October due to extremely bad weather. A search aircraft and crew reached the area on the 7th. However, because of enemy activity and evidence that the wreckage had been moved about since the last aerial sighting, the search was aborted.

*****************************

 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Arthur Neal Cunningham (1916 - 1988)
  Margaret Ruth Mann Cunningham (1918 - 2015)
 
Burial:
Little Prairie Cemetery
Albion
Edwards County
Illinois, USA
 
Created by: Eddieb
Record added: Jul 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93731846
SSGT Kenneth Leroy Kenny Cunningham
Added by: Eddieb
 
SSGT Kenneth Leroy Kenny Cunningham
Added by: Eddieb
 
SSGT Kenneth Leroy Kenny Cunningham
Added by: Eddieb
 
 
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I have worn Kenneth Cunningham's POW/MIA bracelet since 1970-71. I have just researched that he was found, identified & sent home last year. I am going to write the Dept. Of the Army that will return the bracelet to his family! I can't believe the day has...(Read more)
- Sharon Drosos
 Added: May. 27, 2017
ALBION, Ill. (AP) A staff sergeant from Illinois who served in the U.S. Army and was killed during a mission in Vietnam has been laid to rest next to his parents 46 years after his death.Kenneth Leroy Cunningham was aboard a Mohawk aircraft during a sur...(Read more)
- Larry Muse
 Added: Jan. 22, 2016
Missing in action. You are remembered today and at rest thanks for your ultimate sacrificd
- Linda Y
 Added: Jan. 20, 2016
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