1LT Kenneth Vernon Halverson
U.S. Army Air Corps
Killed in Action 7 November, 1944
Mount Tournette, France
-- Barbara Halverson Henry --
I am the only child of LT K.V. Halverson. My name is Barbara Jean Halverson Henry. I have put off writing this for a long time, as
I know more about my father's death than I know about his life.
My father lived in Elk Point, S.D. along with his mother, grandfather, two brothers (Wesley and Dale), and two sisters (Hazel and Myrtle).
His father had died when he was young.
Places my father was stationed are easier for me to recall than why he was there. I know he was in Kansas, near St. Louis, MO (where he met
and married my mother), Waco, TX (flight school) and Grove, England. My mother told me he taught flying, but I donŐt remember where.
My mother went to Waco for my father's graduation. She was pregnant with me and was not able to follow my father after graduation to pick up
his brand new plane which he would fly to England. The last time my mother talked to him was when he flew into Iceland and called her.
When my father's plane crashed, 7 November 1944, it hit a mountain straight on which caused it to bounce off and as it hit a clearing, an avalanche
from high above covered the plane and all the crew but one. As it was the beginning of winter, it was impossible for anyone to climb the mountains
looking for the plane.
It was by accident that two young men out hunting for wild goat found one body. They went down the mountain and told the U.S. Army, but they were not
believed. They didn't give up . . . on they went to their village and told the officials. Volunteers were gathered, supplies, and 31 German captives
to do the digging. Two more bodies were found in June and my fathers body was found in August, 1945.
All these months my mother had waited for word and it finally came that the body was recovered. Due to the slowness of the mail system back then,
my father was buried in an American cemetery in France, near Marseilles. My grandmother wanted her son brought home and his body now lies in Elk Point
My mother married his brother, Wes, who adopted me and raised me as his own. Wes died 8 years ago. My mother remains single.
In October, 2002 I accidentally came across AWON's website. Immediately, I felt this was something I had looked for all my life. Others who felt as
I did; others who would understand what being an orphan means. A place I could talk about my father openly as the others were doing. This was only
the beginning of a whirlwind eight months for me. I went to the convention in Branson and could not hold back the years of tears. I heard everyone
who spoke but it was if I was in another dimension. It was days later that everything started to soak in and I realized that if they could find so much
information about their fathers, then I could, too. I started sending emails all over France. It was my 9-5 job, seven days a week. Two days before
Christmas, I finally got a reply. And oh, what a reply it was. I was sent the newspaper clipping from 1945 of the bodies being recovered.
I couldnŐt let go . . . I had to see the site myself. I have just returned from Mt. Tournette and the village of Thones. The people went out of their
way to show me everything they could, take me everywhere they thought would help me, and held a gathering of the men who found the bodies, men who helped
recover the bodies and so much more. They handed me a notebook they had put together with facts and photos. And then they handed me a piece of my father's
plane to bring home. One of the men even made a wooden box to bring it home in. As I sit here, I find myself turning to look at it and know my father
would be proud . . . he had not been forgotten.