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Kenneth Berube (Class of 1966) oral history and papers relating to the Vietnam War

Biographical Note

Captain Kenneth Allen Berube (1943-1967), Brown University Class of 1966, is honored on Panel 24E, Row 99 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and on Brown University’s War Memorial, installed on the Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle, near Soldier's Arch. Kenneth Berube was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and lived in Monson, Massachusetts where he was an outstanding student and worker at Monson Academy, graduating in 1961. He attended Brown University and entered Officer Training School. He completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC and then went on to Camp Lejeune, NC, for combat training. On 15 January 1965, Berube graduated as the “Outstanding Student” of his U.S. Naval School, Pre-Flight class (Naval Air Station (Pensacola, Florida)). He attained this honor “by his excellent academic performance and his outstanding moral, physical and military conduct.” He appears wearing pilot gear in a photograph taken at Naval Air Station Chase Field, Beeville, Texas, home to Training Air Wing 3 and three training squadrons operating the T-2C Buckeye and TA-4J Skyhawk II jet trainers. This training prepared U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Student Naval Aviators as strike pilots in sea-based jet fighter and attack aircraft.

Berube served in the VMA-211, MAG-12, 1ST MAW, III MAF squadrons. By April 1967 he was “in-country” in Vietnam and had been promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant. While an account notes he seemed pleasantly surprised at this acknowledgement of his skills, he was respected by his peers as well as his seniors. Donald J. McCarthy, a fellow squadron pilot in United States Marine Attack Squadron 211, remembered that Berube “was a quick witted, sharp young officer and he was the most popular of our junior pilots. He was a dedicated Marine and he was as courageous as any pilot in the squadron. He was not foolhardy, and his courage was founded in his ability to fly the A-4. He loved that aircraft—and the more experienced pilots sought him out to fly as their wingman.” Bill Lowrance, an enlisted soldier, felt Berube was the “epitome” of what Lowrance wanted to be; he was one of the best officers who seemed to go out of his way to treat people caringly, with a dash of wit.

On August 11, 1967, at age 23, when beginning an attack as the pilot of a Douglas Attack Aircraft Skyhawk (A-4E) over Chu Lai, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, Berube’s aircraft took ground fire, crashed and burned. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

Kenneth Allen Berube was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism and Achievement, the Air Medal with Ten Gold Stars, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. The Kenneth Berube '61 Prize Fund is awarded each year in honor of Kenneth Berube at Wilbraham-Monson Academy. The Berube Prize was established in 1968 by his parents*, awarded to that student of the Wilbraham & Monson Academy community who best exemplifies, as a worker, the determination and dedication to duty of Kenneth A. Berube.

His parents were Victor E. Berube and Norma Ruth Allen Berube who was born November 7, 1915 in Springfield, Massachusetts and died in 2014 at the age of 99 years old. Both his parents were from Monson, MA.