General Kenneth W. North

May 29, 1930September 21, 2010

General Kenneth Walter North (ret), 80, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family and friends as the sun set on the last day of summer, Tuesday, September 21, 2010. Ken was born on May 29,1930 in Rockville, CT, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Connecticut in 1953. He married his college sweetheart, Carol Louise Oglee, on December 23, 1953.

Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Air Force as a First Lieutenant, and was awarded his pilot wings in 1954. Following pilot training , he served with the Air Defense Command at Truax Field, WI until 1956. From there he was assigned to Itazuke Air Base, Japan, as an F-100 pilot. In 1961 Ken joined the 481st Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., as a flight commander and later as a squadron operations officer.

Ken was assigned to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in 1963 with the Command and Control Division. In 1965 the newly promoted Captain North joined the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, as an F-105 flight commander and was then transferred to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in June 1966, to be deployed to Vietnam. Captain North flew 33 combat missions over North Vietnam before he was downed by enemy fire in August 1966. From then until his release in April 1973, he was a prisoner of war in Hanoi, North Vietnam. During his captivity, he was promoted twice, first to Major, then to Lt. Colonel.

Upon Ken’s release after the war, and following his return to the United States, he entered the prestigious Naval War College in Newport, R.I, graduating in1974. He was then assigned to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., as assistant director of operations. From 1976 to1978, the now full Colonel served with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, first as deputy commander for operations and then as wing vice commander.

In August 1978 Colonel North joined the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing at Torrejon Air Base in Spain, as vice commander and, in 1979, he took command of the wing. From 1981 to1982, he served as executive officer to the deputy commander in chief at Headquarters U.S. European Command, Vaihingen, Germany. While in Germany, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. General North then moved to Hancock Field, N.Y., as commander of the 21st North American Aerospace Defense Command Region and the 21st Air Division.

The General was a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in tactical fighter aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, National Defense Superior Service Medal with Bronze Star, Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation .

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Carol Oglee North; daughters Cynthia North (Ray Ming), Joanne Birchall (Gary Locke), Nancy North (Robert Evans) and Amy Sloan (Fred Thomas) and six grandchildren: Ryan and Kenneth Birchall, Lindsey and Carter Sloan, and Matthew and Nicolas Ming; sister Patricia Iamonaco, and several nieces and nephews. Besides leaving a legacy of courage, bravery and excellence in his career and to his country, General North, above all, was a truly great and much-admired man. He was an excellent husband, father, grandfather, brother, son and friend. He was kind and thoughtful, proud, and strong. He possessed a winning smile and had a contagious sense of humor and wit that was enjoyed by all. Ken North was loved long and loved well, and will continue to be loved and treasured in our hearts and memories forever. Services in his honor will be held at 11:00 on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, at the First Congregational Church on Main Street in Wellfleet, MA. Internment with full Military Honors to take place immediately thereafter at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Wellfleet. Concluding the celebration of his life, a reception will then be held at the Chequessett Country Club, Chequessett Neck Road, Wellfleet. Memorial Contributions may be made to: The Alzheimer’s Association, 311 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472 For online condolences, visit


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, September 28, 2010
  • Burial Tuesday, September 28, 2010

General Kenneth W. North

have a memory or condolence to add?


April 13, 2011

As a teenager I wore the POW braclet with Kenneth's name on it everyday. One night I was babysitting and on TV there was coverage of POW's getting off the plane to return home. I couldn't believe was amazing.I had always prayed for his safe return. I took the braclet off and put it in my jewelry box. If someone in your family would like it...I would be happy to send to you.

Daniel Bowens

March 20, 2011

I remember, back in 1984, meeting the General while cleaning out his waste container in his office. For no reason, General North asked me to sit down and talk to him.

We spoke for about 10 minutes and I never saw him again. As a young A1C Black-American in 1984, I rarely had contact with Officers, much less a General. I consider General North the finest Officer I met while in the Air Force - hands down and I know that he is currently flying with the angels.

Justin Shellington

December 16, 2010

My Father James R. Shellington is good friends with Carol Oglee's sister Judy and has been since childhood. If I am not mistaken My father first met General North in West Hartford as a young man. After many years my parents and Mrs. Judy Oglee got together at her home on Cape Cod. Although I have yet to meet her, and never had the honor of meeting General North, I can't help but to feel a great deal of patriotism when thinking of what this man did for his country. I have always said that there seems to be a great decline in " American Patriots" meaning that we as a hole don't seem to share the great love for our Country as people from an older generation did and do. I have great respect For Brigadier General Kenneth W. North AKA "Jet" so my father says. My only regret is that I was not able to get to know him.
My condolences go out to his family.
Thank you for your time
Yours Truly
Captain Justin R. Shellington
US. Merchant Marines

October 2, 2010

Ken was a fantastic human being, a great friend and mentor. We will hold him and you in our prayers. Rest assured that he will not be forgotten.
Col. Victor B. Rodriguez USAF Ret. and Monica Rodriguez

Patrick Carry

October 2, 2010

Thank you for your service. Godspeed!

Shirley Wall

October 2, 2010

Dear Carole and family I am so saddened to hear of your loss. My whole family had Ken's POW bracelet. I lived across the hall from you ,Carole, in the Theta house at U-Conn. Lot's of happy memories of you and Ken. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Shirley Fosdick Wall

September 30, 2010

My name is Karen Zieres from Rochester Ny. My friend and I were talking about our P.O.W. bracelets we wore in the early 70s. I remember the name on mine was Major Kenneth North. I often thought about him and hoped he was ok. I just googled him name to learn he was freed and lived a long life! So glad for that but sorry for your loss. I wish I would have kept the bracelet to send to you. Sincerely, Karen

September 30, 2010

I am 49 years old from Rochester NY. When I was young, maybe late 60s or early 70s many of us had POW bracelets. Mine said Major Kenneth North. I never forgot that and just happened to google his name because a friend mentioned hers from that time also. I wish so much I would have kept the bracelet, I would sent it his family. I am so pleased to see he was released and lived a long life! His family must be very proud, Karen Zieres

September 30, 2010

september 30,2010 Carol and family. I was sadden to hear of Gen. North's passing. I am Kenny's cousin from Rockville Ct. Frank Janton also Air Force veteran who was stationed in Ubon Thailand in 1965 and 1966.I had not seen him since I was a young boy at Florences house back in Rockville. He sure was a great and honorable man, father, husband and patroit who I'm sure will be missed, but will be in your heart forever. America sure could use more men like Kenny in this day and age. God bless you all and Gen. North.Cousin Frank Janton Carolina Shores N.C.

Anthony Cain

September 29, 2010

As someone who benefitted from General North's sacrifices, I offer my sincere condolences to his family. We thank you for your service and for lending the General to our country. He was a true American hero.
Anthony C. Cain, PhD, Colonel, USAF (ret)
Deputy Director Air Force Research Institute
Maxwell AFB, Al