Honoring Our Heroes
June 1, 2019 | View PDF
John Lakeos served in the U. S. Air Force for 24 years reaching the rank of Master Sergeant. His M.O. was aircrew pararescue/recovery technician. John went to S.E. Asia, flew helicopters into Cambodia, Laos and N. Vietnam where he rescued downed pilots and took them to medical units. He witnessed many wounded and dying. From the helicopters, John went down by cable and secured the wounded to a cable which hoisted the person up to the helicopters. Escort WWII dive bombers assisted in protecting the rescue helicopters and their crews. John stated, "We brought a lot of pilots back that would have been killed there." John spent 19 months in S. E. Asia, with his first tour at Udorn, Thailand, during 1970-1972 and again in 1973 for 30 days. He had three tours in England RAF Woodbridge. Other tours included his jobs as instructor, flight examiner, senior NCO in charge of the 23 Special Tactics Squadron in special operations command at Eglin A. F. Base, Hurlbert Field, FL, which was his last tour. John served as an instructor, as a flight examiner and as superintendent of instruction in pararescue.
John’s decorations include: Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with five devices, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal and Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation.
After discharge from the Air Force and having graduated from Selma High School before entering military service, John completed nurses’ training at Pensacola Junior College and worked as an RN at a hospital at Selma. His wife, Phyllis, and he had one son.
He credits his development in his life with the way he was reared by his parents and his church. When asked why he chose to serve in pararescue, John stated, “Two recruiters convinced him to do this. Among a class of 5400 pararescue personnel-students, only 11 were accepted. It was an honor to serve my country, and I did my duty."
John Lakeos was born September 18, 1948, at Selma, AL.