Kenneth Frank Austin (1934 - 2016)

16 entries
  • "Sorry you left us so soon Ken. I enjoyed our many years of..."
  • "RIP Ken...What a surprise when you called, glad I was able..."
    - Dennis Lindoff
  • "Very sorry to hear of your loss. During such grievous..."
    - DR
  • "My sincere sympathy to your family. May the God of all..."
  • "My sympathy goes out to the family during your time of..."
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Kenneth Frank Austin, 82, passed away peacefully on December 20, 2016 at the V.A. Hospital in Seattle WA.
It all started for Kenny aboard a purse seiner, Washington, on August 16, 1934. It was a dark and stormy night in the Icy Straights sailing from Port Althorp to his Tlingit village in Hoonah Alaska.
Kenny graduated from Mt. Edgecombe HS., Hoonah AK, class of '52. He enlisted in the army in 1956, was 101st Airborne and learned to speak S. Vietnamese at the Armed Forces Institute (and later becoming fluent in 4 foreign languages). Kenny then served 10 tours in S. Vietnam starting as an advisor for the Kennedy administration, mostly in the field. Primarily in duties in which speaking in S. Vietnamese was requested. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal w/OLC, Good Conduct Medal (6th Award), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Bronze Star Medal w/2 OLC, Vietnam Service Medal w/2 Silver Stars & 3 Bronze Service Stars, 6 O/S Bars, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palm, Expert Badge w/Rifle, Bar (M-16) and Marksman Badge w/Rifle, Bar (M-1)
Later, stationed in Germany, he became a reporter for "Stars and Stripes", and retired 1st Sgt. from the U.S. Army on May 31, 1980.
Kenny later received degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Alaska. His thesis, "The Changing Vista of the Northern N.W. Coast Indian Deer Ritual" examined the Tlingit judicial system known as the "Peace Ceremony." Kenny worked for the National Park Service in Glacier Bay Alaska documenting Tlingit names before they were lost. He loved watching the Seattle Seahawks and listening to Jazz. His favorite movie was "Good Morning Vietnam", he loved reading (Shakespeare) and spent hours a day writing on Tlingit culture. Kenny wanted to go back home to Glacier Bay Alaska, he did not want a military funeral.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Jan. 24 to Feb. 23, 2017
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