Kinney, John, BGen

Deceased
 
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 Service Details
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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

Brigadier General

 
 

 Last Photo 
 Personal Details 


Home State
California
California
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.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Cupertino

Date of Passing
Jun 14, 1997
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
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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  1959-1959, MSG Detachment Manilla, Phillipines



From Month/Year
- / 1959
To Month/Year
- / 1959
Unit
MSG Detachment Manilla, Phillipines Unit Page
Rank
Brigadier General
MOS
Not Specified
Location
Not Specified
Country/State
Philippines
 
 
 Patch
 MSG Detachment Manilla, Phillipines Details

MSG Detachment Manilla, Phillipines
Type
MSG/Security
Existing/Disbanded
Existing
Parent Unit
Marine Security Guard (MSG)
Strength
Detachment
Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: Jun 15, 2007
   
   
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