Capt Howard R Cody (UPT Class 55-N)

KIA Vietnam, 24 November, 1963


The largest academic building at Keesler AFB is named after Capt Howard R Cody, a native Mississippian who was killed in Vietnam as a member of the Air Commandos (1st Air Commando Sqdn). On 24 Nov 1963 Capt Cody was Killed in Action while flying an A-26 Invader fighter/ bomber operating in support of ground operations against the Communist Viet Cong near Ca Mau about 160 miles southwest of Saigon. Capt Cody encountered ground fire from hidden and entrenched machine guns. Flying at low level to permit visual reconnaissance of the area he located the gun positions and launched his attack. Despite being hit by ground fire he continued to press the attack forcing the VC to reveal their gun positions to other Air Force aircraft in the target area. On his last firing pass over the target area Capt Cody's A-26 was again severely damaged by gun fire causing it to go out of control and crash. The guns were destroyed as a result of his actions. Capt Cody was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross (the second highest award in the Air Force, behind the Medal of Honor) and General Lemay presented it to his son, Randy in Washington, DC.

Capt Cody was born in Gulfport, Mississippi on 5 September 1934. He graduated from Gulfport High School, attended University of Southern Mississippi and joined the Air Force in 1954. He entered the Aviation Cadet program on 13 Feb 1954 and was commissioned a 2nd Lt and a USAF pilot on 16 May 1955 at Bryan AFB, TX. He spent his time in transports before getting into the Air Commandos. He was assigned to Air Rescue in Iceland in 1958 as a C-54 pilot and received the Norwegian Medal of Valor, during this assignment, for his part in the rescue of the motorship Polar Bjorn off Greenland. He volunteered for the Jungle Jim Program, later to become the Air Commandos and Special Operations, in 1961. He was assigned as a transport pilot first and later became an A-26 pilot. His awards include the Air Force Cross, Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. He was survived by his widow and three children.

(NOTE: Howard, affectionately known as "Wild Bill," was a UPT classmate at both Spence AB, GA [Primary Pilot Training] and at Bryan AFB, TX [Basic Pilot Training]
- Don Duke, Webmaster).

Obit Courtesy Air Commando Assn