Recently, Dave Nelson was in church and happened to be wearing the B-17 jacket he purchased when he flew on Aluminum Overcast. Kim Keierleber noticed it and approached to tell him of her father’s service on a bomber in World War II. Thankfully for us, Dave pointed Kim in EAA’s direction.
For Kim and her brother, their father, William Koch,
was always that — their dad. They knew that he had served in the military
during WWII, but Kim said the family did not know many of the details.
“He did not talk about his war time adventures at all,”
It wasn’t until later in his life that he decided to
put ink to paper and begin to tell his tale. Once it was out in black and
white, it was discovered that William’s life read more like a screenplay for a
movie than it did just some old memories.
Kim asked her brother, “Why don’t we remember him ever
telling us about this?” That was because he hadn’t. Like many of that
generation, when William came home from the war, he put it all behind him and
went back to everyday life. When he finally put together his story and
documents to share with his family, they were taken by surprise at just what a
life he led.
“We were overwhelmed at what we read, as we never thought
of our father doing this kind of stuff,” Kim said, giving advice to others with
older relatives. “Please talk to your parents and grandparents and see what is
in their history. You just might be surprised.”
Read William’s story, along with the wartime documents he kept, in the PDF below: