Ferdinand G. Kerkvliet

Ferdinand G. Kerkvliet - WWII
Ferdinand G. Kerkvliet - WWII
Recent Address: 1645 150th Street, Larchwood, IO 51241
E-mail Address:
Family Info: Parents: Giard and Mathilda; Wife: Virginia; Siblings: Rose, William, Marcella, Mary, Veronica, Agnes, Robert
Hometown: Larchwood, IA
Date Entered Service: February 13, 1943
Service Number: 37473241
Bomb Group: 462nd
Squadron: 768th
Location of Unit: Clovis, NM
Missions Flown: 24
Hump Missions: 2
Targets: Rangoon, Bangkok, Saigon, Nagoya (2), Hamamatsu, Tokyo, Osaka (4), Kobe, Amagasaki, Kawanishi, Toyohashi, Kure (2), Himeji, Kagamigahara, Takamatsu, Chiba, Sendai, Utsonomiya, Takarazuka, Tsu, Aomori, Hachiogi, Yawata
Awards: Air Medal (3), Presidential Unit Citation (3), Battle Stars (8), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Theater Service Medal, China Defense Medal
Service Schools: Aircraft School, Gulf Port, MS 1942; B-17 School, Seattle, WA 1942; Armament School, Denver, CO 1942
MOS: MOS 1684-Airplane Power Plant Mechanic-Gunner
Rank Upon Discharge: Staff Sergeant
Crew Type: Flight crew
Airplane Serial No.& Name: 42-24919 Uninvited, 42-24456 The Shrike, 42-93830 Torrid Toby, 42-6346 Man-O-War, 42-63457 Battlin' Beauty, 42-63560 (unnamed), 42-63540 (unnamed), 44-70104 (unnamed)
Where You a POW?:
POW Location:
Where You a Interned?:
Internment Location:
Date Transferred from the 58th: November 27, 1945
Date Discharged: November 27, 1945
Post WWII Service:
Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s): I farmed 600 acres for 35 years in northwest corner of Iowa; built a number of buildings, had two patents that were a success, did some custom work with machines. With my wife of 59 years we raised a family of seven children. As a family we took a vacation each year. We've seen most of the states. Virginia and I later took a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, then to Alaska. In 1985 we took a trip to Europe. We now live on acreage southwest of Larch wood, Iowa. We are both 89; still care for ourselves and are certainly thankful for it all.
Thoughts About the 58th:
I am proud to have been part of the 58th Bomb Wing. It made its mark by proving the B-29 as a Bomber. The bomber played a large part in the surrendering of Japan. The bomber was one of the most expensive, destructive machines of WWII. The 58th Bomb Wing was stationed in CBI at Piardoba, India which was under the command of England's Lord Mountbatten. From there we flew the Hump to China with supplies and also made several bombing missions in CBI. Palembang, Sumatra was our longest mission at 19 hours 40 minutes. On our missions there were many tense moments; like landing at Myitkyina, Burma, on a fighter strip with a full load of bombs. At Rangoon, Burma, two bombs collided below us and exploded. The B-29 flew the first mission to Japan after the Doolittle Raid, to the Yawata Steel Mills, August 20, 1944. The 58th BW also flew the last mission of the war August 14, 1945. In March of 1945 we moved to Tinian Island in the Pacific. From there we flew 21 missions. Each had its own story. We had a bomb hang up at Kobe, Japan, got caught up in thermal heat at the Tokyo raid, picked up a Japanese newspaper in the air scope (the article was featured in Yankee magazine), had a near miss of a phosphorus bomb on the way to Nagoya. Other missions we suffered flack damage and sometimes landed at Iowa Jima. At the end of the war we were given a 40-day leave to Honolulu, Hawaii, where we celebrated the war's end from where it all started. We then boarded the aircraft carrier Saratoga with 10,000 Gis headed for the USA. My memories were many with the 58th Bomb Wing for we had fought a war, were in a number of countries and islands, crossed 3 oceans and circled the globe. Glad to say I served with many of the best. My gratitude to Mike O'Hern, my fellow crewmates, and all who served in World War II. Thankful to be alive at 89 years.
The article Every Life has a Story: Ferdinand Kerkvliet written by Kathy Reinke is available in the 58th Bomb Wing Memorial Archive.
Must mention our motto for the 462nd Group, 768th Sqd -- it was painted on all aircraft. It read: “HELL BIRDS - WITH MALICE TOWARD SOME”. They were the words of Col. Kalberer our C.O. who replaced Col. Carmichael when he was shot down over Yawata, August 20, 1944. The Japs also knew us as having the red rudder.
Mr. Kirkvliet passed away August 27, 2008. He is buried at Larchwood Cemetery in Larchwood, IA.

58th Bomb Wing Veterans Index
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