Colby Eagles Alumni Association
Col. Forest (Woody) M. Kimsey, Retired, 1957
30 years of outstanding service to his country
Nominated by Jarree E. Miller
Colonel Forest (Woody) Kimsey, a command pilot with over 3,500 hours of flying time, the majority of which was in the H-3 rescue helicopter, gave 30 years of outstanding service to his country. His military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. The account of how he earned the Silver Star follows.
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On April 22, 1966, Kimsey was notified that Marine F-4B was down and to prepare for a first light mission to recover the crew (pilot and radar operator) shot down on the Ho Chi Minh trail in Eastern Laos. Kimsey launched a rescue helicopter to an area of known hostile troops in an effort to rescue two fellow Americans.
On April 23, 1966, after rescuing the Marine pilot, and having its Flight Engineer shot and losing its Pararescueman on the ground, the lead helicopter was forced to leave the area due to massive battle damage.
Later in the day, Lt. Kimsey and his crew, despite massive ground fire, returned to the area and rescued the Marine F-4B radar operator and took him to a base in South Vietnam for evacuation to a hospital ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. Lt. Kimsey was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest award for valor in the military.
The following day, April 24, 1966, again despite massive ground fire, Kimsey rescued the Pararescueman from the lead helicopter who had spent the night on the ground surrounded by the enemy.