Going the Extra Mile for Vets

Last week two of Carnegie Village’s residents were spotlighted for their service. This is the second part of the series that aims to bring honor and attention to a generation that is disappearing all too quickly. Getting to hear their stories is both an honor and a privilege that none of us should ever take for granted.
Harold Kneble sat down to share his stories of his time in the Air Force. He grew up on a farm in a little town in Indiana and was working the farm when the “invitation” came from Roosevelt in 1942 to participate in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He was stationed in the South Pacific and island hopped working on 13 different bases altogether. He started as an electrician and aircraft instrument specialist, eventually becoming a flight chief in charge of 7 aircraft. He was on Palawan in the Philippines when the peace treaty was signed. “We were all packed up ready to go to another island when they put a hold on us. They said that the United States was going to drop a bomb on Japan that might end the war and we just laughed about that. And then they dropped the atomic bomb and it did end the war!”
After the war ended, Kneble left the military for a few years, going back to working on the farm. “After four years, I thought I’m not making any money doing this so I sold out and went back into the Air Force. I stayed until I retired that time,” said Kneble. During his second stay he got married and started a family.
After suffering hearing damage working on the flight deck, he was reassigned as an analyst. “I didn’t know at the time, but that was the break of my life.” He chose to serve at Richards-Gebaur Air Base because his wife had family in Kansas City, so he took a position on the base as a maintenance analyst where he stayed until he retired. For one year he took his family with him when he was stationed in France. “I was closer to Belgium than I was to Paris,” recalled Knebel. “The French people in general didn’t like us. Individuals yes, but not in general. I don’t know what it was. I didn’t have any French friends except our neighbors who were just as nice as could be.”
He started a second career using his skills as an analyst at a local Grandview company called Pitman Manufacturing until they went bankrupt. “That’s when I decided I’d worked long enough so I just retired.”
Knebel was also fortunate to be selected for an Honor Flight a few years ago. “It was a wonderful trip.” He visited all of the major sites including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Mall. His favorite place they visited was Arlington Cemetery. “It was huge! I didn’t dream it was that large and everything was so nice and I really enjoyed going through that. I’d learn so much more if I were able to go back,” said Knebel. He definitely encourages anyone who is interested and able to go take that trip.
Carnegie Village works with their veterans to put them on Honor Flights whenever possible as just another way to show how much they appreciate those who served in our country’s military. They are also continuing their clothing drive for new and gently used suits for men and women who are coming out of the military giving them something to wear to interviews. They will continue to collect suits until August 4.

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