Kenneth Lee Porter – Second Lieutenant, United States Air Service

Details and photo courtesy of The Aerodrome

Country: United States. Rank: Lieutenant. Service: United States Air Service. Squadrons: 147th Aero. Victories: 5. Born: 6 December 1896. Place of Birth: Dowagic, Michigan. Died: 3 February 1988. Place of Death: Queens, New York. Buried: Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington Cemetery Records:
Kenneth Lee Porter
2LT, United States Army
DOB 06 DEC 1896
DOD 03 FEB 1988
14 FEB 1918 to 26 FEB 1919
Section 67 Grave 441
Ace, 147th Aero Sq.


A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in engineering, Porter joined the United States Air Service on 6 August 1917. Following training in Canada and Texas, he was commissioned and assigned to the 147th Pursuit Squadron in January 1918. Flying the Nieuport 28, Porter scored his first victory on 2 July 1918, sharing in the destruction of a Pfalz D.III. In August, the 147th Aero was re-equipped with the SPAD S.XIII and Porter scored four more victories to become an ace on 12 October 1918. Two days before his final victory, Porter replaced Wilbert White as commander of C Flight when the latter was killed in action.

After the war, Porter resumed his career in engineering, worked for Boeing during World War II and was a member of the United States Fighter Pilots Association.

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

“For extraordinary heroism in action near Chateau Thierry, France, 2 July 1918. Lt. Porter with four other pilots, attacked twelve enemy aircraft (Pfalz type) flying in two groups well within the enemy lines. As soon as the enemy planes were sighted, Lt. Porter maneuvered to get between them and the sun with great difficulty and gained the advantage. While three of the American officers dived on the lower formation, Lt. Porter and 2nd Lt. John H. Stevens engaged the upper formation in a bold and brilliant combat, two planes of which they crashed to earth.” DSC citation

Croix de Guerre

“An excellent pilot. He has always been efficient and brave, firing on enemy convoys from low altitude, attacking balloons, forcing them down. On 2 July 1918, together with two other pilots, he attacked a formation of 12 enemy planes and brought down one of his adversaries.” Croix de Guerre citation.

Kenneth Lee Porter
Born December 6, 1896. Died February 3, 1988.

A native of Dowagiac, Michigan, Kenneth Porter enlisted in the army on May 14, 1917 and completed training at the School of Military Aeronautics, University of Illinois, in October of that year. He was one of “The 300” selected for training with the Royal Flying Corps in Canada, and later in Texas. He earned his Reserve Military Aviator rating and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on January 16, 1918. During the First World War, he was assigned to the 147th Aero Squadron, and become a flight commander. He earned his fifth air combat victory on October 12, 1918, thereby becoming an “Ace.”

During the Second World War, he helped developed the hydraulic system for the Martin B-26 bomber.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 67, Grave 441).





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