Kenneth  L. "Ken"  Coskey  
  Rank, Service
Captain O-6,  U.S. Navy
  Veteran of:
U.S. Navy 1951-1982
Cold War 1951-1982
Korean War 1953 (Ceasefire)
Vietnam War 1968-1973 (POW)

Ken Coskey was born on December 26, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan. He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program at NAS Pensacola, Florida, in November 1951, and was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1953, having been commissioned an Ensign on May 13, 1953. His first assignment was as an AF Guardian pilot with VS-21 at Coronado, California, from August 1953 to December 1954, followed by service as an instructor pilot at NAAS Whiting Field, Florida, from January 1955 to December 1957. LT Coskey attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, from January to October 1958, and then Jet Transition Training at NAS Olathe, Kansas, from October to November 1958. After completing A-3 Skywarrior Replacement Air Group training with VAH-3 at NAS Sanford, Florida, he served as an A-3 pilot with VAH-1 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA-62) from May 1959 to October 1962. He served as an A-3 pilot with Detachment 8 of VAH-11 from November 1962 to June 1963, and then attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey again, where he received his Bachelor's degree in June 1965. LCDR Coskey served in the Navy Bureau of Personnel at the Pentagon from July 1965 to June 1967, followed by A-6 Intruder Replacement Air Group training with VA-42 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, from July to December 1967. CDR Coskey served as an A-6 pilot and as Executive Officer with VA-85 aboard the aircraft carrier USS America (CVA-66) from January to June 1968, and then as Commanding Officer of VA-85 from July 1968 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on September 6, 1968. After spending 1,651 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973, and was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries from April to October 1973. He then attended George Washington University where he earned his M.B.A. degree in May 1975, followed by service as Department of Defense Liaison to the House of Representatives Select Committee on Missing Persons in Southeast Asia from May 1975 to 1976. Capt Coskey served as commanding officer of the Navy ROTC unit at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, from 1976 to 1979, and then served as Deputy Director of the Naval Historical Center at the Washington Navy Yard from July 1979 until his retirement from the Navy on October 1, 1982. After retiring from the Navy, Ken served as Executive Director of the Naval Historical Foundation at the Washington Navy Yard from 1987 to 1999. Ken Coskey Flew West on June 29, 2013, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

His 3rd Bronze Star Medal for Valor Citation reads:

For meritorious service as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from January 1971 to September 1972. Through his ceaseless efforts, in an atmosphere of enemy harassment, threat of torture and brutal treatment, he established and maintained intracamp communications. At great risk and in spite of further cruelty, he continued to devise many unusual and ingenious methods in communications, resulting in American and Allied prisoners resisting the enemy's demands and at the same time improving the prisoners morale. By his heroic endeavors, exceptional skill, 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.

The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.




Contact Veteran Tributes at


Contact Veteran Tributes at