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Col Harold “Pappy” Kahler

Col Harold “Pappy” Kahler

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Death 14 Jun 1969 (aged 46)
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 99325934 · View Source
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In Memory of…..... Col. Harold Kahler.
*** Colonel Kahler was a member of the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron. On May 14, 1969, he was the pilot of a Thunderchief Fighter (F-105D) on a mission to bomb a bridge in northwest Laos. As the aircraft dove towards its target, it was hit by hostile fire and crashed. 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 those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you!

Age: 56
Race: Caucasian
Date of Birth Jan 27, 1923
Marital Status: Married - wife Maxine Lund Kahler (Married Mar.19, 1945) Born Feb. 15, 1925 and passed away 01/12/1986 in Tempe, Arizona.
His daughter, Cynthia, is Head Teacher for the Vernon, AZ School District. She resides nearby with her pet dog, Princess. Harold's son, Dennis, is an artist, and also resides in AZ with his wife. Parents: Father, Manuel Kahler (1897 - 1963) and Mother, Marie Kahler (1902 - 1984).

***** Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to comment about my father. I still wear his bracelet.

***** "United States Census, 1940"
Name: Harold Kahler
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1940
Event Place: Ward 2, Lincoln, Lincoln City, Lancaster, Nebraska, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 17
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Birthplace: Nebraska
Birth Year (Estimated): 1923
Last Place of Residence: Same Place
Household Gender Age Birthplace
Head Emmanuel Kahler M 43 Russia
Wife Marie Kahler F 37 Nebraska
~ ~ ~ . Son Harold Kahler M 17 Nebraska
Daughter Gertrude Kahler F 14 Nebraska
Daughter Shirley Ann Kahler F 8 Nebraska

***** "United States Census, 1930"
Name: Harold Kahler
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1930
Event Place: Lincoln, Lancaster, Nebraska, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 7
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Birth Year (Estimated): 1923
Birthplace: Nebraska
Father's Birthplace: Russia
Mother's Birthplace: Nebraska
Household Gender Age Birthplace
Head Manuel Kahler M 33 Russia
Wife Marie Kahler F 27 Nebraska
Son Harold Kahler M 7 Nebraska
Daughter Gertrude Kahler F 4 Nebraska

COL - O6 - Air Force - Reserve
His tour began on Apr 14, 1969
Casualty was on Aug 17, 1979
Hostile, died while missing, FIXED WING - CREW

Body was not recovered
Panel 22W - Line 47

Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

NETWORK 2005 with information from his daughter, Cynthia.

On 14 June 1969, then Maj. Harold Kahler was the pilot of an F105D Thunderchief aircraft sent on a mission over Laos on June 14, 1969.

His aircraft was the number two plane in a flight of two. The lead aircraft rolled in on the target followed by Kahler in the number two aircraft. As the lead F105 was coming off the target he saw a flash of light in his rear-view mirror.

The lead aircraft immediately tried to contact Kahler by radio, but was unsuccessful. He had enough fuel to make just one pass over cloud coverage and monsoon weather, but did not see a parachute indicating Kahler successfully ejected from his aircraft.

After the plane went down, a team reached the site and found the cockpit of the plane empty with no parachutes either inside or on the ground nearby. It was thought at the time that Kahler was working his way to a safer area where he could be rescued. The plane itself was in fair condition, considering the violent impact. This information was given to one of Kahler's family members during an information-seeking trip to Laos. The relative was able to see the jungle area near the crash.

On June 14, the Pathet Lao acknowledged shooting down an F105 and stated that the pilot was "suitably punished." The mission had been Kahler's 81st combat mission. Nothing has been learned of Harold Kahler's fate since that time.

Kahler was raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, and took pilot training in Lubbock, Texas, where he received his wings in 1943. He trained pilots during World War II. Following the war, he remained in the Air Force until he was sent to Vietnam.
His wife and two children lived in Tempe, Arizona in 1974. Kahler was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was maintained Missing.
In the spring of 1968, the TAC Sea Survival course at Homestead AFB, Florida was mandatory for all Air Force aircrews going to Vietnam, and Major Harold "Pappy" Kahler was the ranking officer in my class.
He was older than everybody else in the class, and older than most F-105 pilots. I guess that's why we called him "Pappy". I don't know where he picked up the nickname, but with his graying hair and the grizzled five o'clock shadow he had at the end of each day, the nickname was very appropriate.
I always thought he was from an Air Force Reserve unit, and recently a friend of the Kahler family told me that Pappy was a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard, who was called to active duty during the Korean War and remained on active duty afterward.
In South East Asia, Pappy and I were both assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB). Pappy was in the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, I was in another squadron, the 41st TEWS, at the other end of the flight line.
Every day, before we flew, we received an intelligence briefing that included the location of the SAM sites and AAA sites, the level of the MIG threat, and a summary of any aircraft losses the previous day. In June 1969, I was "short" -- almost ready to go home. As I sat in the EB-66 briefing room listening to the briefing before one of my last flights, the intelligence officer said that Pappy's plane had gone down in Laos. He was the last man I knew who was lost before I rotated home.
Pappy Kahler was a good man. I was a young Lieutenant and he was a senior Major, but that didn't matter to him. He was always friendly. He was old enough to be my father, yet he always treated me like a man. I'm proud to have known him.
Tom Mangan
We served together


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  • Created by: Eddieb
  • Added: 21 Oct 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 99325934
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Col Harold “Pappy” Kahler (27 Jan 1923–14 Jun 1969), Find A Grave Memorial no. 99325934, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Eddieb (contributor 46600350) .