Plymouth County

S/Sgt. Gerald T. Kempker

 

 

 

NEWS of the BOYS in the SERVICE  

Staff Sergeant Gerald Kempker, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Kempker, arrived home Tuesday.  He will here a week.  Sgt. Kempker is attached to the new Rainbow division and is at present stationed in Camp Gruber, Oklahoma.

Source:  LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 14, 1944

NEWS of the BOYS in the SERVICE

Sergeant Gerald T. Kempker, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Kempker of 715 1st Street, SE, LeMars, Iowa, has been awarded the Air Medal and first Oak Leaf Cluster by Brigadier General Truman H. Landon, commanding general of the VII Bomber Command, for his participation in Seventh Air Force aerial strikes against the Japs in the Marshall Islands.  Sergeant Kempker, who attended St. Joseph high school, has two brothers in the service:  First Lt. R. M. Kempker, AAF, and Staff Sergeant P. J. Kempker with the Infantry.  He went overseas May 12, 1943.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, May 5, 1944

NEWS of the BOYS in the SERVICE   

Gerald T. Kempker, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Kempker, of 715 First street SE, LeMars, has been promoted to the rank of staff sergeant, according to a 7th AFF announcement from the Seventh AFF headquarters in the Pacific.  Holder of the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster, he is a member of a Liberator crew operating against the Japs in the Central Pacific.  Sergeant Kempker attended St. Joseph’s high school and was a student at the time he entered the AAF.  Two brothers are in the service:  1st Lt. R. M. Kempker, AFF, and Staff Sergeant P. J. Kempker, in the Infantry.

Source:  LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, May 23, 1944

STAFF SERGEANT GERRY KEMPKER RELATES THRILLING EPISODE ON BOMBING MISSION
Crippled Plane Makes Forced Landing On Beach

A graphic story of how faithfully his 7th AFF Liberator protected a crippled formation member until the last moment, was told by Staff Sergeant Gerry Kempker, 715 First street SE, LeMars, who has completed thirty combat missions against the Japs in the Central Pacific, according to a communication from the public relations office, seventh air force headquarters, Central Pacific.

“We had just dropped a load of bombs on Maloelap,” related Kempker, waist gunner aboard the 7th AAF Liberator, the Homesick Angel, “when we saw that the leader of the next flight had one engine shot out of commission and that a second motor was fouled up.  In addition, its top turret was out of commission.  A flock of Zeros, it must have been fifty of them, had come up after us and thus the crippled plane would have been a set up for the Japs.

“So its pilot drifted underneath us for protection,” continued Kempker, “and we saw to it that no Zeros got to the plane.  After the Zeros left we stayed right with the crippled plane even when it started losing altitude.”

Kempker then told how the stricken plane was losing altitude so rapidly that it was necessary to leave the formation.  The “Homesick Angel” stuck to the job and followed the plane down until it made a crash landing, a fortunate one, on a beach.  After seeing members of the crew clamber out the “Homesick Angel” departed for the home base.

Kempker, who is home on a furlough, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Kempker of LeMars.  He holds the air medal and three oak leaf clusters and the distinguished flying cross and one cluster.  He attended St. Joseph’s high school in LeMars.

Source:  LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, June 6, 1944

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS AWARDED TO SGT. GERALD KEMPKER

The public relations office of the Seventh Air Force in the Central Pacific sends out the following announcement:

Sergeant Gerald T. Kempker, 715 1st Street SE, LeMars, has been awarded the coveted Distinguished Flying Cross for participation in 7th AAF bomber assaults of Jap targets in the Central Pacific.  The award was made by Brigadier General Truman F. Landon, Commanding General of the Seventh Air Force Bomber Command.

Only 19 years old, Sergeant Kempker’s Distinguished Flying Cross brings his total of combat rewards to three.  Since becoming a crew member of a Tokyo-bound Liberator, he has been awarded the Air Medal and an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second Air Medal.

Source:  LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, June 9, 1944

Staff Sergeant Gerald Kempker came home on furlough, Tuesday. He has 86 points for discharge, but has been declared essential by the Army, and they won’t let him go.  He is at present gunnery instructor at an army air field.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, July 26, 1945