LTC Kenneth J Duckworth was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 06/14/2010 at the age of 69.6 from Auto accident
Davie, FL
Date of Birth 11/03/1940
Served in the U.S. Air Force
Served in Vietnam with 21 SOS in 67-68
Call sign in Vietnam JOLLY GREEN GIANT
This information was provided by Jim Burns


Patriot, Defender, Father, and Friend

Born November 3, 1940 in Philadelphia to Stanley and Regina Duckworth. He attended Saint Joseph's Preparatory before graduating from the Naval Academy in 1962 and earning a commission into the Air Force, where he served 28 years of combined active and reserve duty.

Lieutenant Colonel Duckworth piloted B-47 nuclear bombers, C-130 transports, and the CH-3 "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter. From 1967 to 1968 he flew search and rescue and other operations in Vietnam to support U.S. Marines at Khe Sanh and interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He is credited with rescuing many downed pilots and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in flight, and two Air Medals.

From 1971 to 1990 he served with the 301st Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Homestead Air Force Base. There he trained water survival and participated in numerous search and rescue operations, to include the crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 in 1972, retrieving the ill from cruise ships, and supporting space shuttle launches.

A staunch advocate of the Bill of Rights and helping the downtrodden, Ken graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami Law school in 1972. He specialized in criminal law in both Dade and Broward County for over 25 years. He provided free legal assistance to Hurricane Andrew victims, and provided legal defense in the highly reported 1993 Bobby Kent murder trial.

In his later years, Ken found joy as a Broward County Schools substitute teacher. He especially enjoyed helping middle school special needs children. He was still enjoying this calling when he passed in an auto accident on Flag Day, 14 June.

Throughout life, Mr. Duckworth thoroughly enjoyed sports of all types. He rowed, ran marathons, and coached. His particular passions remained the Phillies and the Army-Navy football game. He approached life with great humor, optimism, and compassion.

Kenneth J. Duckworth is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Joan, of 45 years, his children Kenneth Christopher, Rebecca, and Eric as well as four grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters, Jane Becker and Denise Tumelty of Philadelphia.

Services will be Tuesday, June 22 at Fred Hunter's, 2401 South University Drive, Davie. Visitation begins at 4pm with memorial service at 5:30 pm. A memorial mass will be held Wednesday, at St. Mark's Catholic Church, 5601 South Flamingo Road at 10am.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial tribute to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

Please send additions or corrections to: VHPA Headquarters

Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list

Return to VHPA web site

Date posted on this site: 06/15/2024

Copyright © 1998 - 2024 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association