Vincent J. Kechner
U.S. Army Air Corps
World War II | KIA
Vincent John Kechner was born on September 1, 1917. He grew up at 18 Rainbow Avenue in Port
Richmond and graduated from Curtis High School.
Vincent’s brother Robert died in an accident when he was 13 years old. During World War II the surviving four Kechner brothers were in military service. Vincent and Donald were in the Army and stationed overseas. Theodore was in the Army, but served stateside. Edward served in the Navy, overseas.
Vincent worked under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program that gave jobs to unemployed men during the Depression. He worked on public or government projects outside of New York, until he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.
Vincent’s military occupation or specialty was Medical Aideman in the Medical Department, 26th Bombardment Squadron, Hickam Field, Hawaii. He had the rank of Corporal. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, in spite of ongoing machine gun fire from the planes overhead, Vincent repeatedly ran onto Hickam Field to save the lives of those suffering on the tarmac. He was “cut in half by machine gun fire” according to his buddy, an eyewitness. Army Air Corps Corporal Kechner was Killed In Action on December 7, 1941. He received a Purple Heart.
Vincent is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, an American Battle Monuments Commission location. His banner hangs at Rainbow Avenue, the street re-named for him.
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