On June 12, 2022 at 2 p.m. Paul Kari will be presenting a program on his time in the military including the time he spent in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam Conflict. The program will be at the Champaign County Historical Society (CCHS), 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana.
Paul Anthony Kari born on November 25, 1935, in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1958. He entered pilot training at Bainbridge, GA., and was first in his class at all four training bases. He was initially assigned to fly the F-100 at Ramstein AB, Germany. While there, he was selected to represent the United States in the first NATO Gunnery meet individually winning the “TOP GUN” trophy for the USA.
In 1964, he flew the F-4C out of MacDill AFB, FL. He qualified expert in all phases f conventional and nuclear delivery in just two missions. He entered the Vietnam conflict on April 4, 1965 and was the first USAF F-4 to fly in combat. On his 69th mission, June 20, 1965, he was shot down bombing the Headquarters Western Vietnam Military Training area at Son La. He became the twelfth P.O.W. captured.
Decoration includes two Silver Stars, Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, one with a “V” for Valor, two Purple Hearts, DFC, 13 Air Medals, and others. After a seven-year eight-month stint in the Hanoi Hilton, he was released February 12, 1973. After 1 ½ years on the Air Force Academy faculty, he retired 1111 hours, November 11, 1974. Next, he worked for the FAA in Washington D.C., Denver, and Seattle. In 1982, he entered the agri-business as an owner of a cattle ranch. Then moved to the Great Plains as a wheat producer. His current career is as a corn and soybean producer in southwestern Ohio.