Kenneth Fleenor was born in 1929 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC Program at Western Kentucky University on January 14, 1952, and he graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings in May 1953. After training in the F-86 Sabre, Lt Fleenor served at McGhee-Tyson Airport, Tennessee, and then with the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in Japan. He next flew as an instructor pilot at Laredo AFB, Texas, from April 1957 to April 1962, when he went to Meridian Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi, as an exchange pilot with the U.S. Navy. Fleenor next flew with the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Squadron at MacDill AFB, Florida, from October 1963 to August 1964. From August 1964 to January 1966, Fleenor served with the 4454th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. He began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in February 1967, and on December 17, 1967, he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 1,914 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. After hospitalization, Gen Fleenor became Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations of the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph AFB, Texas, in August 1973. In August 1974, he became Commander of the 12th Air Base Group, also at Randolph. Gen Fleenor took command of the 12th Flying Training Wing in July 1975, and he became Assistant Deputy Chief of Operations for Air Training Command in April 1978. His final assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of Air Training Command, from July 1978 until his retirement from the Air Force on August 1, 1980. Gen Fleenor wears Command Pilot Wings and accumulated over 5,400 flying hours during his Air Force Career. Ken Fleenor died on December 10, 2010, and was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the period June 1969 to September 1969, while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions, and propaganda materials. Colonel Fleenor resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.