JB McKamey was born on July 10, 1935, in Greencastle, Indiana. He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program on September 28, 1955, and was commissioned an Ensign and designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, on March 1, 1957. McKamey flew with VA-215 from April 1957 to June 1961, and then served as a T-2 Buckeye instructor pilot with VT-7 and then VT-9 at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, from July 1961 to June 1964. After attending Safety School at the University of Southern California from July to October 1964, he was assigned as a replacement pilot with VA-125 at NAS Lemoore, California, until March 1965. LT McKamey then joined VA-23 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CVA-41), and began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in April 1965. He was forced to eject over North Vietnam while flying his 21st combat mission on June 2, 1965, and was immediately captured and taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,813 days in captivity, CDR McKamey was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries and then served as a project officer on the staff of the Commander of Light Attack Wing, Pacific, from October 1973 to March 1974, followed by service as Safety Officer on the staff of the Commander Training Air Wing One from March to July 1974. His next assignment was as commander of VT-19 at NAS Meridian from July 1974 to May 1975, followed by service as Navigator aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-60) from July 1975 to July 1977. CAPT McKamey served with the Naval ROTC program at the University of Jacksonville, Florida, from July 1977 to March 1979, and then served as executive officer of NAS Key West, Florida, from March 1979 to June 1981. His next assignment was as commander of the Mobile Mine Assembly Group at Charleston, South Carolina, from June 1981 to July 1982, followed by service as commander of NAS Pensacola, Florida, from September 1982 to August 1984. CAPT McKamey's final assignment was as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Management Support and as the Transition Team Leader on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Education and Training at NAS Pensacola, from August 1984 until his retirement from the Navy on June 1, 1986. After retiring from the Navy, JB served as the Public Affairs Officer for NAS Pensacola for 7 years. JB McKamey died on February 9, 2010, and is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery at NAS Pensacola, Florida.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. In August 1966, his captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.