John Waino Komula, Navigator
18th SOS, Da Nang, 1972-73
John Waino Komula was born 11 December 1931 at Tomahawk, Lincoln county, Wisconsin. John Waino graduated from Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at Superior State College in Superior, Wisconsin on 4 June 1953 and entered the Air Force on 23 August 1953 at Sampson Air Force Base, Syracuse, New York.
After graduating from Waco, Texas in February 1955 as a Radar Observer, he flew in the F89D at Duluth, Minnesota and Anchorage, Alaska to the end of 1958. In 1959, he completed Navigator Training at Mather AFB, Sacramento, California. From 1959 to 1964, John flew in the B-47 and KC-97 as a Navigator. During that time, John completed Squadron Officers School (SOS) in Residence 1959 and Air Command and Staff by Correspondence in 1964.
From 1964 to 1969, John was a Combat Crew Commander in the Minuteman Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1969 thru 1971, he attended NMSU and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
In 1971-72, John received training as a Navigator, NOS Operator, and Infrared Sensor Operator in the AC-119K Gunship Training Program. From 1972 to 1973, he was assigned to the 18th Special Operations at Da Nang, flying AC119K Gunships out of Thailand and Vietnam as a Navigator/NOS/Infrared Operator. He flew 105 combat missions in Stinger gunships while accumulating 301 combat flying hours in Southeast Asia.
From 1973 to 1978, John was assigned to the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Kirtland AFB as the 4900th Systems Safety Officer with a Title of X2816 – Staff Development Engineering Officer. During his career in the United States Air Force, he acquired 4,000+ total flying hours. John Waino Komula retired from service at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 31 October 1978 at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.
His awards and decorations include Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal w/6-OLC.