Friday, March 27, 2015

Donald Kiser of Elkhart (front row, second from right) is pictured in this 1944 photo with his B-17 crew at Rougham Field, Bury St. Edmunds, England. Kiser, a B-17 turret gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps, was honored for his military service on Thursday, March 28, 2013, by the Indiana Senate. (Photo Supplied)
Elkhart World War II vet to be honored by Indiana Senate
Posted on March 28, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 28, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.

Some 70 years after his service, U.S. Army Air Corps veteran and Elkhart resident Donald Kiser is to be honored by the Indiana Senate.

Kiser, 90, was headed to Indianapolis Thursday, March 28, where the Indiana Senate was to present him with a special resolution for his military service. State Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, is the Senate sponsor.

“I’m excited,” Kiser said by phone as he traveled by car to the state capital.

Kiser, a resident at Hubbard Hill retirement community in Elkhart, has lived in Elkhart County most of his life. He spent 1942 to 1945 overseas, though, fighting in World War II, and faced plenty of danger during his service.

“I was called to duty,” said Kiser, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a turret gunner in a B-17. “We had a job to do and we did it.”

He’s already received several honors for his service, including Air, American Campaign, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, World War II Victory and Army Good Conduct medals, according to one of his caretakers, Joy Sholty. Now he gets another.

Kiser, who was based at Rougham Field in Bury St. Edmunds, England, took part in 29 missions and he recalled a couple close calls while serving.

On one mission, his aircraft lost an engine and hobbled back to its home base late.

On another to what was then Czechoslovakia, 65 U.S. aircraft were shot down. The men in the downed airplanes parachuted out and he remembers the sky “looked like a garden full of daisies.”