Captain (Ret) Kenneth Boone Sampson distinguished himself as a B-52 navigator and bombardier with a total of 363 combat missions over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia between 1967 and 1973, as well as 18 air medals (including distinguished flying cross) and a total of 17 years of service (including prior enlisted service).
Captain Sampson grew up in Pittsburgh PA. His father was a carpenter and his mother a secretary. He had one younger sister.
He completed Miami Technical High School, a vocational high school in Miami, Florida, in January 1957, as an aviation mechanic and worked briefly as a FAA licensed Aircraft & Powerplant mechanic before enlisting in the Air Force in 1957 in Miami. He worked initially as a USAF jet engine mechanic and then got the opportunity to go to the Air Force Academy (after one year Prep School at Ft. Belvoir).
He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1964 and embarked on a career as a B-52 navigator and bombardier. He moved 15 times in his 17 year career, and had 8 tours in Vietnam combat zone (based out of Utapao and Guam) totaling 34 months.
He was married twice and has one adopted son and one biological son from his first marriage and has also helped to care for children from his second wife, a Thai woman who he met in U’Tapao and who has stayed by his side through very difficult times over all these years.