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NEWS | May 7, 2021

502nd ABW members help celebrate veteran’s 100th birthday

By Kathy Salazar 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 502d Air Base Wing joined the Alamo Honor Flight in celebrating with the100th birthday of Pearl Harbor Survivor retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Platt at a local restaurant May 5.

"It felt great to share such a special day with Kenneth Platt," said Brian E. Hoffman, 502nd ABW vice director. "I loved hearing about his life and seeing the energy he brought to every moment. Both of my grandparents were World War II veterans and I felt like I was connecting with them again as I spoke with Mr. Platt."

“Celebrating the 100th birthday of Sergeant Platt was an incredible milestone and an absolute honor to be a part of,” said Senior Airman Margaret Mistretta, 502d Installation Support Group Judge nonjudicial punishment paralegal.

“I was glad to meet living history,” said Airman 1st Class Jalen Michael Kinkela, 502d Installation Support Group Judge Advocate military justice paralegal.

Platt joined the Army just shy of his 16th birthday. He went to the recruiter’s office in support of a buddy and ended up joining the service instead of his friend. After leaving the Army, he joined the Air Force, following in his brother’s footsteps.

By his brother’s advice, he told the recruiter he was an aircraft mechanic, which they quickly found out he was not. However, Pratt learned the trade and served in the Air Force for 20 years.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Platt was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii with the 24th Division. He was asleep in this bunk when the invasion at Wheeler Field started right across the road.

The Alamo Honor Flight started having a monthly breakfast in November 2010 after an honor flight where everyone was saying their goodbyes.

“It seemed so sad,” said Russell Minor, Alamo Honor Flight staff member. “It was decided that we would continue to visit once a month during breakfast.”

The Alamo Honor Flight has met every month until April of last year due to COVID-19 concerns and started meeting again just last month. This is the fourth veteran they have celebrated their 100th birthday for, with the first one in 2016.

“As an Air Force member actively serving our country, having the opportunity to be surrounded by so many living legends from the greatest generation reminiscing about their war stories will be a memory I will cherish for years to come,” Mistretta said.