The Graduate Heritage Project

Valmore William Bourque

24 October 1964

First Lieutenant Valmore Bourque, Class of ’60, was killed when his C-123B aircraft was struck by enemy ground fire and crashed when the aircraft inadvertently crossed the border into Cambodia during an aerial resupply mission.┬áLieutenant Bourque was the first graduate to die in combat. He was promoted to Captain posthumously. His statue stands in the Mall of Heroes between Fairchild and Vandenberg Halls. Coincidentally, on 11 July 1955, he was the first person to be sworn in as an Air Force Academy cadet.

Biographical Facts

Branch:  USAF
Rank:  Captain
Graduation:  1960
KIA Date:  24 October 1964
Squadron:  Cadet Squadron 06
Home Town:  South Hadley Falls
Home State:  Massachusetts
High School:  South Hadley High School
High School Activities:  Class Vice President, Yearbook Editor, Football, Basketball, Baseball, Skiing
Post High School:  Prep School: Williston Academy, East Hampton Massachusetts
Academy Experiences:  Baseball, Soccer, Ski Club
Active Duty Assignments:  Pilot Training Pilot C-131 Pilot C-123
KIA Conflict:  Vietnam
Combat Information:  315th Tac Carrier Group, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam
Killed In Action Mission:  C-123B air drop mission near Bu Prang South Vietnam. Struck by ground fire over Cambodia and crashed
Next of Kin:  Linda L. (wife), Wendy Sue (Daughter)
Burial Site:  Originally interred at USAFA, 5 November 1964, subsequently interred in Arlington National Cemetery with full crew 21 March 2014
Aeronautical Specialty Rating:  Pilot, Aircraft Commander C-123B
Notable Decoration Awards:  Promoted to Captain Post Humously. 1 Purple Heart, 6 Air Medals
Comments:  Entered with the Class of 1959, graduated with the Class of 1960. First cadet sworn in. First Graduate KIA


News Release
5 Nov 1964
Newspaper Article
16 Jan 1965
Herald Tribune
21 Mar 2014
NY Times Article
21 Mar 2014
NY Times Article
22 Mar 2014
Newspaper Article
Date Unknown
of Incident
of Memorial

Talon Magazine
Dec 1964
Checkpoints Article
Dec 2014
Loss Narrative
AOG 2005
Mission Narrative
Charles Weinert
Memorial Brochure
Memorial Brochure
Newspaper Article
24 May 2019

Letter from
Greg Swanson
Class of 1966
Remembrances By
Earl Van Inwegen
Remembrances By
Denis Walsh
Letter from AOG
28 May 1965
Letter from
Mr. & Mrs. Bourque
31 Aug 1965
Letter from
19 Oct 1965
Letter from AOG to
Mr. & Mrs. Bourque
12 Nov 1965


Altar Boy
Application Photo
High School
Swearing In
4th Class Photo
Tri-Delta Party
CU 1960
2nd Lt Graduation
Wedding Photo
Val & Linda

Saigon Ceremony 1964
Burial Ceremony
Burial Ceremony