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C-141 Tail Number: 64-0630

From an early USAF Postcard

Copyright: Howard Chaloner
Source: AirLiners.net

"Paul Yonkie was a flight engineer on C-141s, stationed at Charleston AFB, SC. He was on a classified mission for the purpose of bringing home two POW Air Force officers who were being released by the North Vietnamese if the officers were inclined. The officers selected commercial travel, however. The crew was preparing the aircraft for departure from Udorn, Thailand, when a communist sapper attack took place. Paul was hit in the stomach with grenade fragments and was flown to Clark AB in the Philippines for medical attention. After several operations and 5 weeks Paul passed away. I was at Paul's side when he died."

Bruce Cook, SMSgt USAF (Ret)

Note: The two Air Force POWs mentioned by SMSgt Cook were Majors Fred N. Thompson and James F. Low. MAJ Thompson, an F-100 pilot, had been shot down and captured on 20 March 1968. MAJ Low was a F-86 ace in Korea, with 5 MiGs to his credit. An F-4D pilot in Vietnam, he and then-1LT Howard J. Hill were shot down by a MiG-21 on 16 December 1967. Both were captured. Thompson and Low were released in Hanoi on 2 August 1968 as a propaganda move. Hill survived captivity and was released with the other POWs on 14 March 1973.

Almost thirty years to the day after his death the Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, SC, dedicated a C-141 to Paul Yonkie. They call it "The Spirit of TSgt Paul E. Yonkie". His widow and daughters were in attendance. When the plane was sent to Mcguire they painted over his name.


Paul E. Yonkie is remembered at Scott Air Force Base. Our 'C' street was renamed 'Yonkie Drive' in honor of him.

TSgt Michael Byrd
375 Airlift Wing Historian


Photo Copyright: unknown
Source: Vitual Wall

Copyright: Frank Duarte Jr
Source: AirLiners.net


Copyright: USAF Photo
Source: AirLiners.net

Copyright: James Kramer
Source: AirLiners.net



14 November 2000
Crew signed a panel inside the A/C
Copyright: Phil Kovaric


14 November 2000
Crew signed a panel inside the A/C
Copyright: Phil Kovaric


14 November 2000
Copyright: Phil Kovaric


Copyright: Phil Kovaric


Cockpit Stripped a short while later
Copyright: Phil Kovaric




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