Fallen Warrior: Staff Sgt. Michael R. Conner
81st Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 27, 2021
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Staff Sgt. Michael R. Conner was born September 17, 1947, in Rockwood, TN. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on November 29, 1966, completing basic training at Lackland AFB, TX and Morse Code training at Keesler AFB, MS. On October 25, 1969, Conner was reassigned to 69 94th Security Squadron, Det 2, Pleiku Air Base, Vietnam. Conner was killed in action on April 22, 1970, when the EC-47 aircraft, call sign CAP 53, on which he was serving as an Airborne Morse Systems Operator, was downed by enemy fire over Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam.
Here is an excerpt from a memoir by one of his crewmembers on that fateful day: “As we went forward, Mike was ahead of me and he automatically went to my seat so I took his rear seat. I had just buckled in and looked out the left window to see the wing hit a tree and break loose . . . As we slowly started to unpile each other I discovered my good friend Mike, who had gone forward and had taken my seat was killed. To this day I still ask GOD why. This man was married and all he could do is talk about his wife and the baby they were about to have.”
For his bravery and sacrifice, Conner was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the air medal and the Purple Heart and in May 1973.
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