First Lieutenant Howard Walker Kaiser graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1963. He earned a bachelor’s degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Following his graduation from college, Lieutenant Howard Walker Kaiser entered active duty at Laughlin AFB, TX, and attended Undergraduate Pilot Training. He learned to fly in the T-37 and T-33 jet trainers and earned his pilot wings in 1965.
Lieutenant Kaiser was then reassigned to Travis AFB, CA, for training and qualification in the C133A and C133B aircraft. This flight training lasted from April to September 1965. Subsequently, he attended Survival School in Nevada and further training at Edwards AFB, CA, all in preparation for his tour in Vietnam.
In January and February of 1966, he trained in Song Be, South Vietnam, for qualification in the OE-1 and OF-1 Forward Air Control planes. In March he started flying actual forward air control missions, which he continued to do on a daily basis until his death. He flew over 600 flights with as many as 5 flights per day. From the end of May until 13 September, he flew and supported the war effort every day of the week. The missions were very dangerous, but Lieutenant Kaiser responded with meritorious actions. Typical was praise that said he exhibited outstanding airmanship and courage in directing important combat missions under extremely hazardous conditions.
On one mission, he earned the Silver Star. His citation said that in the Phuoc Long sector of Vietnam on July 26, 1966, while flying an OE-1 aircraft on reconnaissance, Lieutenant Kaiser spotted a well-camouflaged hostile battalion, called for air strikes and repeatedly flew through intense ground fire directing attacks. Half the battalion was destroyed, the citation said, and a major Viet Cong infiltration route was interdicted. The Vietnamese medal for valor was awarded for the same action.
First Lieutenant Howard Walker Kaiser was killed 13 September 1966 while piloting a reconnaissance plane in search of a downed U.S. helicopter. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. The Purple Heart was awarded for events of that day.
In addition to the Purple Heart and Silver Star, Lieutenant Kaiser was awarded the Air Medal and 18 subsequent Oak Leaf Clusters and the National Republic of Vietnam Service Medal. All of these medals are on display at the American Legion Hall in Chesterfield, NH.
For gallantry and devotion to duty as a pilot in the United States Air Force, First Lieutenant Howard Walker Kaiser is inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.