by Alex Boesch, Student Public Relations Writer
Even as an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War, Daniel Kinniburgh always kept a calm demeanor and rigid faith. Through countless combat missions, including an 11-day bombing assault over Hanoi, Kinniburgh never gave into a fear of death.
During his service, Kinniburgh flew a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft during 165 successful combat missions, including the fight over Hanoi, Vietnam. During this time, he tapped into his experience at what was then Cedarville College for support.
Kinniburgh, who graduated from Cedarville in 1969, first found Cedarville through Dr. Arthur Williams, a former professor of Bible and frequent substitute preacher for the lead pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Kalispell, Montana. Traveling from Montana with Williams, Kinniburgh found a home in the Ohio college, where he would eventually study and meet his future wife, Carol, before entering pilot school.
Now, 75 years after the Battle of Hanoi ended (December 19, 1946 – February 18, 1947), Kinniburgh, from his home in Marion, Montana, reflects on how he was educated in a faith that provided him a unique perspective during his 165 combat missions during the Vietnam War.
Kinniburgh’s most intense mission came following a December 18, 1972, bombing order by President Richard Nixon over Hanoi. The mission, known as “Operation Linebacker II,” lasted 11 days and saw more than 20,000 tons of explosives dropped by Kinniburgh and his comrades.
“There were missiles coming from all directions,” said Kinniburgh. “It was like there were little bursts and flames coming up through the clouds, shooting at you as we attempted to fly level to the ground to drop our bombs.”
Even in severe danger, Kinniburgh was calm and operated on his foundation of faith.
“I didn’t have the fear of death that my comrades had,” noted Kinniburgh. “I never felt that we were going to be shot down. I was safer there, with the Lord, than anywhere else.”
Even with two distinguished flying crosses awarded by the U.S. Air Force, nothing is more telling of Kinniburgh’s faith then his family.
“I have always said that he is my hero,” said his wife, Carol. “I’m so proud of him. I have told him that so much in our 52 years together.”
Since his service, the Kinniburgh family has developed a legacy at Cedarville University as a three-generation Cedarville family. Kinniburgh’s son, Jason, graduated from the University in 1996, and he has two grandchildren currently enrolled as students.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.