LeRoy J. Manor is a combat veteran of World War II and the Vietnam War, and accumulated over 6,500 flight hours in fighter aircraft. He is best known for commanding the Joint Contingency Task Group that conducted Operation Ivory Coast and Operation Kingpin in 1970, the special operations raid to free prisoners of war (POWs) from a camp near Son Tay, North Vietnam. Manor was born in Morrisonville, New York on 21 February 1921. In 1942, Manor entered aviation cadet training, graduating with pilot wings and his commission in August 1943. During World War II, he flew 72 combat missions in the P-47 over Europe. He also flew 275 combat missions in the F-100 as commander of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing during the Vietnam War. In February 1970, Manor took command of the US Air Force Special Operations Force. In this capacity, he received orders in August of 1970 to lead a Joint Contingency Task Group charged with rescuing 75-80 POWs from Son Tay Prison Camp approximately 22 miles northwest of Hanoi, North Vietnam. Initially called Operation Ivory Coast, the task force began training at Duke Field on the Eglin AFB Range in Florida. Training and rehearsals were conducted under a veil of total secrecy – so secret that mission mock-ups were torn down and rebuilt on schedules to avoid detection by Soviet satellites. On 21 November 1970, under the new name Operation Kingpin, 28 aircraft with 56 Army special operations assaulters launched from Thailand to execute the raid. The assault force infiltrated North Vietnam undetected. The raid on the prison complex lasted only 26 minutes with just two injuries, despite contact with a force of 350 North Vietnamese troops and another 12,000 troops in reserve within just five miles. Unfortunately, the POWs were relocated to Hanoi shortly before the raid, so no POWs were recovered during the raid. Despite this, Operation Kingpin was a planning and tactical success, and Manor’s Joint Contingency Task Group established operational standards for organizing, training and execution that form the basis for modern Joint Special Operations Task Forces. General Manor concluded his Air Force career as commander of 13th Air Force and Chief of Staff, Pacific Command. He was inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame in 1994 and received a Medal of Knight of the French Legion of Honor in 2015 for his participation in the Liberation of Normandy.
Years Honored: 2016
Aircraft/Specialty: North American F-100 Super Sabre
General LeRoy J. Manor is a combat veteran of WWII and the Vietnam War. He is best known for commanding the Joint Contingency Task Group that conducted Operation IVORY COAST and KINGPIN, the special operations raid to free prisoners of war from a camp near Son Tay, North Vietnam in 1970. The joint task force successfully developed, rehearsed and executed plans in total secrecy for a direct action raid on the prison complex. General Manor established operational standards that form the basis for modern Joint Special Operations Task Forces.