Col. Ken Cordier was born and raised in Ohio. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron, and a master’s degree in business management from Troy State (Alabama). His professional military education includes Squadron Officer School, the Armed Forces Staff College, the National Security Management Course, and the Defense Attaché school.
Upon graduation from pilot training at Del Rio, Texas in 1963, Col. Cordier was assigned to MacDill AFB, Florida, flying the F-4C/PHANTOM. In 1965, he deployed to Ubon Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand, where he flew 59 missions over North Vietnam and Laos. In July 1966, Col. Cordier volunteered to fly another tour, this time at Cam Ranh Bay Airbase, Republic of Vietnam. He then brought his combat record to 175 ½ missions and more than 500 combat hours. On December 2, 1966, Col. Cordier’s F-4/PHANTOM took a direct hit from a surface-to-air missile, forcing him to eject approximately 85 miles north of Hanoi. He was captured immediately and held in four different prisons in and around Hanoi until his release on March 4, 1973.
Returning to active duty after four months of convalescent leave, Col. Cordier attended the Armed Forces Staff College and requalified to fly jet aircraft. Over the next 12 years, Col. Cordier served in a number of flying and staff assignments, culminating with a tour of duty as Air Attaché to the United Kingdom.
Col. Cordier retired from the Air Force in 1985 and returned to the United States where he represented British Aerospace in Washington D.C. as Director, Military Aircraft. Since moving to Dallas in 1993, Ken has been self employed as a management consultant. He has served in leadership positions in several veteran’s organizations, and is a frequent speaker on the subject of his experiences as a prisoner of war (POW). During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Col. Cordier, along with several fellow POWs, appeared in the film Stolen Honor.
Colonel Cordier is a Command Pilot with more than 2,000 flying hours in fighter aircraft. His combat decorations include: Silver Star with one oak leave cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor, Air Medal with six oak leave clusters, Prisoner of War medal, and the Purple Heart. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Medal of Honor, and in 2008 he was inducted into the American Combat Aviator Hall of Fame.