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Colonel William Arthur Kehler

Colonel William Arthur Kehler, US Air Force, retired, North Little Rock.  Some of his awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Legion of Merit Awards, three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal and twelve Air Medals.  Colonel Kehler logged approximately 4,600 flying hours during his 30-year career.  Over 700 of these flying hours were combat time in Southeast Asia, flying 90 combat missions.  He had multiple temporary duty assignments to Danang Air Base, Tan Son Nhut and Cam Rahn Bay, Republic of Vietnam, flying the C-123 Provider and the C-130 Hercules. His state side assignments include Chief, US Air Force Officer Force Structure; Deputy Commander, 60th Military Airlift Wing, flying the C-141 Starlifter; Commander, 314th Tactical Airlift Wing and Deputy Director of USAF Personnel Plans.  

The citation that accompanied the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross reads: 

“Major William A. Kehler distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an AC-130 Gunship Pilot over Southeast Asia on 7 June 1973. On that date, while on a Mekong River convoy escort mission, his actions led to the destruction of two hostile shore artillery batteries. Under the threat of antiaircraft artillery fire, he  succeeded in escorting the river convoy to Phnom Penh; thereby bringing much needed supplies and ammunition to the beleaguered city. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Major Kehler reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”