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Another good Soldier passes on

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HAY MAKER

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1st Lieutenant Kenneth M. Kidd
Husband of Myra Nell Johnson
Written by daughters—Kate Reed
Nancy Marchioni

Kenneth enlisted in the Army Air Force after Pearl Harbor. He did not have to join because
he was an only son, but he wanted to serve his country and to become a pilot. He sold his
motorcycle for $150 in order to pay for transportation to basic training where he qualified as a
sharpshooter in both rifle and pistol. He began his flight training at Stamford, Texas, then on
to Goodfellow Field, San Angelo, Texas, next Lubbock, Texas and finally received his 2nd
Lieutenant commission and wings at Randolph Field, Texas.

After advanced training as a C-47 transport pilot, he was assigned to 64th Troop Carrier
Squadron, 403rd Troop Carrier Group, 13th Army Air Force, Pacific Theater. Everything had a
nick-name. The 64th were called “The Sandmen”; the 13th AAF was called the Jungle Air Force;
and the C-47’s were called the Old Workhorse. Lt. Kidd’s personal name for his C-47 was The
Texas Ranger. The 64th was initially under the command of the Marines, but was transferred to
the Navy, and eventually back to the 13th AAF.

Flying a total of 118 missions and 1600 combat hours, he landed on Guadalcanal and other
Northern Solomon Islands, New Guinea, New Hebrides, New Caledonia , Eastern Mandated
Islands, Bismarck Archipelago Islands and many other small islands. Lt. Kidd flew one of
the first planes into a combat zone carrying much needed troops, supplies and equipment. They
also evacuated battle casualties and kept re-supplying the ground troops and other bases as long
as needed. His plane was one of the first 10 planes delivering bombs to the Bougainville air
strip. The field commander, Marine Col. Pottinger was quoted as saying “Thanks for the bombs,
boys”. They also supported the native fighters on Bougainville with parachute supply drops.
These planes were not armed; yet flew closer (100 feet above ground) to the enemy than most of
the armed combat planes.

Kenneth received his 1st Lieutenant commission while serving in the South Pacific along with
the Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze Service
Stars and later the American Defense and Victory Medals. After the war, he was a flight test
officer until his honorable discharge from active duty. He did remain in the Air Force Reserves
for a few more years.

Kenneth was raised on a ranch in Loyal Valley, Texas. After the war, he settled in Pleasant
Grove near Goldthwaite, Texas. There he met and married the love of his life, Myra Nell
Johnson, the daughter of Pearl Biggs and William Marsh Johnson. They eventually moved back
to the ranch in Loyal Valley and raised two daughters.

Daddy never talked much about the war, and never about Guadalcanal. He talked about his love
of flying, the beautiful islands, and the wonderful native people. He really only told a couple of
stories. As the war wound down, he started delivering the mail when he wasn’t carrying supplies
or troops. It was a beautiful day when he took off with only a radio operator, a very rookie
co-pilot and no navigator on board. They flew over the majestic mountains of New Zealand,

delivered the mail, and took off for the return flight. The radio operator received an increasing
fog, visibility poor- at- best weather report. Too late to turn back, a huge mountain range in
front of him that interrupted the radio signal and no visibility, Daddy said “ I knew my airplane.
Flying on instruments and instinct, I took it up as high as I knew the C-47 could fly. I instructed
my radio man to stay on the radio because we weren’t coming down until he was able to receive
a signal from our home air base. No one said much when we landed because I feel they didn’t
think we would make it back.”

He also told the story about losing his plane when he was stationed on New Hebrides. Both re-
built engines (the talk being that one was re-built by the Army and one by the Navy) failed, and
he had to ditch the plane in the ocean----as written up in the official record--- “so gently that all
of the crew and passengers were uninjured”. They were rescued by natives in canoes that rowed
out to greet and pick them up. Planes with major mechanical service were supposed to have been
flight checked for a certain number of hours. However, the records had been falsified; and this
had not been done. The plane was a serious loss, but luckily no lives were lost.

Nancy attended the 40th anniversary reunion of the 64th Troop Carrier Squadron with Mother and
Daddy in 1985. A man attending the convention told her he always knew he would be safe as
long as he was flying with Lieutenant Kidd. Daddy was so proud to have served his country. We
honored him at his passing by dressing him in his uniform and burying him with full military
honors. The most important thing he wanted engraved on his headstone--- his “wings”.
 

HAY MAKER

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An email 1st Lieutenant Kenneth M. Kidd daughters sent to the ranch today, thought I would share it with his kind.
I enjoyed talkin cattle horses and weather with him, his daughters are very nice women and still Ranch in Loyal valley, we buried him last year, was a quiet Military burial for the old soldier, he wanted it like that, I miss him every day.
good luck

jstout
Sisterdale Texas
 

robert richardson

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Hi and regards from Spokane. I stumbled upon a posting you logged in January regarding your Father's service during WWII. My Dad was also in the 64th, and I think they might have flown together. Dad was a navigator. I am writing up the story of his service, which was short because of a plane crash that injured him badly. I would love to know more about your Father's narrative. Did he leave a memoire? I'll be glad to hear from you.
All the best.
Bob Richardson
[email protected]
 

HAY MAKER

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robert richardson said:
Hi and regards from Spokane. I stumbled upon a posting you logged in January regarding your Father's service during WWII. My Dad was also in the 64th, and I think they might have flown together. Dad was a navigator. I am writing up the story of his service, which was short because of a plane crash that injured him badly. I would love to know more about your Father's narrative. Did he leave a memoire? I'll be glad to hear from you.
All the best.
Bob Richardson
[email protected]

Hello Bob, I may not have stated my relationship with this old soldier plainly.
He was a friend of mine, not my father.
I will forward your email address to his daughters and let them know you would like to talk to them about their and your fathers service to the country..........................good luck
 

Soapweed

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Thanks for sharing this with us, HAY MAKER.

The soldier's daughter wrote a nice tribute to her dad. Because of the efforts of this man and other soldiers like him, we still live in a great country. Hopefully, all of their sacrifices won't be in vain and squandered in the next election.
 

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