Kinney, John, BGen

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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Primary MOS
9967-Billet Designator, Helicopter Pilot
Last MOSGroup
Specific Billet MOS
Primary Unit
1959-1959, MSG Detachment Manilla, Phillipines
Service Years
1941 - 1959
Officer_ Collar Insignia

Brigadier General


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 Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cpl David R. Evans (D.R.) to remember Marine BGen John Kinney.

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
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Home Town
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Last Address

Date of Passing
Jun 14, 1997
Location of Interment
Not Specified
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Not Specified

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Last Known Activity
General Kinney, then a Second Lieutenant, arrived on Wake Island with a squadron of 12 Grumman Wildcat fighter planes less than a week before the December 7, 1941, attacks on both Pearl Harbor and Wake Island.

The Japanese air raid on Wake Island's tiny airstrip left only four of the squadron's fighters fit to fly. The unit's engineer and all of its plane mechanics were killed in action.

Lieutenant Kinney flew combat attacks against Japanese warships and supervised repairs as the squadron's replacement engineering officer, keeping the four remaining planes in operation by salvaging parts from destroyed aircraft. On December 11, the island's combined air and shore defenses pushed back an amphibious assault, sinking two destroyers.

Following a second assault and the surrender of the Wake Island garrison on December 23, Lieuenant Kinney became a prisoner of war and was transported to Japan and then to Shanghai. He was interned in Kiangwan Prison from December 1942 to May 1945.

On May 10, 1945, as a train was moving prisoners to another camp, Lieutenant Kinney jumped off and escaped through China, a journey that took 47 days. He was reunited with U.S. troops and arrived home in Washington state on July 29.

"He and four other Marines jumped out of a train and were able to make contact with the Chinese communists, who took care of them and led them through the backwoods of China," said his wife, Bonnie (LaVonne) Heinsen Kinney.

In 1946, he was placed in command of the Marine Corps Aviation Technical School, where he and other instructors built the first jet engine test cell in the Navy. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1949 and attended the Air War College, graduating in 1950.

During the Korean War, he was assigned as operations officer of Marine Air Group 12, which served in Wonsan, Korea, and later in Pusan, Korea. He was instrumental in identifying problems with jet aircraft and flew with his squadron along the Yalu River.

He received the Silver Star for flights in the Yalu River area. He also received the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star for service in World War II, and another Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other awards, for service in Korea.

He rose to the rank of Colonel in 1956, and received his helicopter pilot designation the following year. He took command of a helicopter group stationed in Okinawa and the Philippines. In 1959, he retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Brigadier General.

General Kinney later worked as a test pilot for two aircraft-makers and as an engineer for Lockheed. He retired from Lockheed in 1980.

In 1993, he built his home in Portola Valley, where he lived until 1997. In 1995, he co-wrote a book about his wartime experiences, "Wake Island Pilot: A World War II Memoir."

Other Comments:
General John F. Kinney was a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat pilot assigned to VMF-211 on the pacific outpost of Wake Island in late 1941. He participated in the defense of Wake Island until it fell to Japanese forces in late December. During the defense of Wake Island, then Lt Kinney was responsible for keeping the remaining four F4F-3's operational under very difficult circumstances. Kinney was a prisoner of war for most of World War II until his daring escape and return to allied control in China after 3 years of captivity.

General Kinney flew combat missions during the Korean War. He also participated in the development of Marine Corps jet aviation. Later in his career General Kinney transitioned into helicopters adding to the development of this new aircraft. General Kinney's many awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, thirteen Air Medals, the POW Medal, and the Wake Island Expeditionary Medal.
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  1956-1959, MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa

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- / 1956
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- / 1959
MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa Unit Page
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Camp Butler
 MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa Details

MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa
Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler (or Butler Marine Base to natives) is a United States Marine Corps base located in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa. It was named for legendary Marine Smedley D. Butler.

Camp Smedley D. Butler is actually a collection of facilities and satellite installations spread throughout Okinawa. Camp Smedley D. Butler was formerly called Camp or Fort Buckner, named for Army General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., who commanded ground forces in the invasion of Okinawa and was killed in the last days of the battle. The renaming of Buckner to Butler occurred after most US Army troops left Okinawa, and the base was transferred to the USMC.
Parent Unit
Marine Corps Bases Pacific
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2008
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
36 Members Also There at Same Time
MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa

Pehowic, Stanley, MGySgt, (1946-1972) Technical Sergeant
Rose, Kenneth, Cpl, (1955-1963) Corporal
Hill, Walter, Maj, (1944-1963) 13 1302 Captain
Dunn, John E, MGySgt, (1941-1971) 26 2645 Master Sergeant
Greer, Jerry D, MSgt, (1953-1973) 8 0891 Staff Sergeant
Wilcox, Lee, MGySgt 11 1169 Staff Sergeant
Hart, James, GySgt, (1955-1959) 30 Sergeant
Leonard, Robert, Cpl, (1954-1962) 14 1411 Sergeant
MacLeod, Bruce, Cpl, (1956-1960) 14 1421 Sergeant
Brown, Richard, Sgt, (1959-1967) 35 3531 Corporal
Calabrese, Iggie, Cpl, (1954-1959) 26 2639 Corporal
Donahoe, James, Cpl, (1958-1961) 35 3531 Corporal
Shirghio, James, 1stSgt, (1955-1982) 35 3531 Corporal
Yantorn, James, LtCol, (1957-1988) 58 5831 Corporal
Brown, Jeff, LCpl, (1957-1963) 30 3051 Lance Corporal
Garcia, Cristina, LCpl, (1956-1962) 4 0400 Lance Corporal
Gibson, Robert, SSgt, (1958-1968) 35 3531 Lance Corporal
Runion, Richard, Cpl, (1958-1962) 11 1121 Lance Corporal
Agnew, Thomas, 1stLt First Lieutenant
Barton, Donald, Cpl, (1956-1959) Corporal
Ammunition Supply Point Camp Henoko

Cleveland, Francis, PFC, (1958-1964) 23 2311 Private 1st Class
Brig Co

Carnicle, Gary, Maj, (1955-1976) 25 2533 Sergeant
Camp McTureous

Prosser, Winfred Herschell, MGySgt 13 1349 Master Sergeant
Beligotti, Augustus Dan, Capt, (1950-1971) 13 1379 Staff Sergeant
Hartwell, Charles, Sgt, (1955-1959) 13 1300 Sergeant
Watters, Ronald, MGySgt, (1955-1986) 13 1371 Corporal
Camp Schwab

Allen, John, Cpl, (1959-1962) Lance Corporal
Co E Kami Seya Japan

Ayres, Michael, PFC, (1958-1961) 26 2621 Private 1st Class
Combat Assault Bn

Cannon, Lawrence, GySgt, (1957-1977) 3 0311 Lance Corporal
Correctional Custody Unit, MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa

Gary, Clarence, LCpl, (1956-1959) 11 1100 Lance Corporal
Sheehan, Peter, PFC, (1956-1958) 1 0141 Private 1st Class
H&S Bn

Andolina, Charles Joseph, Cpl, (1954-1959) 25 2511 Corporal

Calabrese, Iggie, Cpl, (1954-1959) 28 2814 Corporal
Marine Support Btn

Ayers, James Westley, Capt, (1957-1967) 25 2502 First Lieutenant
Ryukan Armed Services Police (RASP)

Collins, Dan, Sgt, (1955-1960) 3 0369 Sergeant
Hempstead, Allen, Sgt, (1951-1959) 3 0369 Sergeant
Collins, Dan, Sgt, (1955-1960) 3 0369 Corporal
Garguilo, Ronald, Sgt, (1955-1959) 3 0311 Corporal

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