Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Bill Kummer.
With 24 years of active duty and National Guard duty, Bill Kummer served as a pilot during World War II and the Korean War. During his service across multiple branches, he earned multiple medals, including four Air Medals.
Growing up in Fairbault, Minnesota, Bill was inspired to join the military by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. He recalls in a recent profile: “Lindberg was a fellow Minnesotan and made his epic flight in 1927, just a couple of years after I was born. The local media featured many articles about flying as I was growing up, and our basement was full of model planes. I knew I would become a military pilot.”
Following his passion for flight, Bill enlisted as an 18-year-old in the Navy in 1943 as a Seaman Second Class. He later transferred as an aviator to the Marine Corps, commissioning as a second lieutenant in 1946. Several months later—due to Congressional budget cuts— Bill’s career with the Marine Corps ended.
Undeterred, Bill then joined the Army National Guard, becoming a U.S. Army Air Forces pilot with the 2nd Infantry Division, Air Section. He was awarded the rating of Liaison Pilot by the U.S. Air Force in 1949. Bill returned to active duty during the Korean War. There, he served as a helicopter pilot. He remembers in an interview with KTAR News, “The pilots would eject with the parachutes and survive, but were banged up by the time I reached them.” He retired from the service in 1976.
Today, Bill lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Janet. He is active in the Veteran community, volunteering with Luke Air Force Base’s Retiree Activity Office. This year, he will also serve as a grand marshal for the 2016 Phoenix Veterans Day parade. The story of his service is archived at the Library of Congress as part of the Veteran History Project.
Thank you for your service, Bill!
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Graphic created by Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a graphic communication major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in graphic design and visual communications.