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A Hero of the Hump July 6, 2014

Posted by makingyourdashcount in "Flying the Hump", Air Force, Hero, military, WWII.
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My father in law, Kenneth Krause, was a certified hero.  Although this blog may not stand the test of time, I expect that it will last longer than the yellowing  July 2003 copy of Vitality Plus, Newsmagazine ( Mankato, MN) for mature, active, adults– Volume 7 Number 7, in which he was honored with an article telling his service story.

– By Mark Hagen

Ken Krause of Mankato was a heroic pilot for the Army Air Corps during World War II, and has a display of military honors to show for it.

Krause, who grew up on a farm in Waseca County, worked in the grocery industry for a couple of years after graduation before deciding he wanted to fly aircraft. In July 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and took civilian pilot training with the Army Flying School in Texas.

He took several months of training courses at various locations in Texas, Kansas and Missouri before graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant on February 8, 1944, when he received his wings.

During the next few months, Krause married his first wife, who later died. He also attended flight instruction school before becoming n instructor in Waco. Soon after, he was one of 12 pilots assigned to new aircraft at stations in Kentucky, and later Indiana, before getting the call to go overseas in August 1944.

Krause recalls that he and his crew were given instruction at each pot stop on where to go next, and he didn’t know exactly where they were going until they finally arrived. They took off at Bangor, ME, before flying to Newfoundland, Canada, the Azore Islands, French Morocco, Tunisia, Cairo Egypt, Persia (now Iran) and two cities in India before finally settling into their final base of operations at Syiket, India.

Krause began missions with the 3rd Squadron almost immediately after arrival, conducting missions in southern and southeastern Asia. His missions required a total of 72 trips across the Himalayan Mountains region. He said the planes at the time didn’t have the power to get a high enough altitude to clear these mountains, so she was dependent on the winds to get him over the “hump” region.

There were numerous other units conducting flight missions in the same region, and Krause recalls one night where the winds were stronger than reported and 36 American planes were lost. He said the wind was limiting their progress and the planes crashed into the mountains.

Many of Krause’s specific missions were carried out in China and Burma, where Japanese troops were infiltrating many cities. He evacuated Chinese from one of their cities under attack, and once dripped paratroopers into battle in the jungles near Rangoon, Burma.

Another time, he went 400 miles behind the enemy lines and supplies a Burmese village that was looted by the Japanese with large amounts of food, clothing and ammunition. As with most missions where he was in contact with villagers, he and his crew were welcomed.

After being stationed in several locations in India, Krause was later stationed in Burma, where he hauled everything from peanuts to toilet paper to donkeys to bombs.

In October 1944, Krause was shot down in enemy territory in Burma His engine was hit and he had to make a forced landing in which the other pilot was killed. Krause was thrown from the plane and was unconscious for approximately an hour and a half, lying on the plane’s wing. When he came to, he had temporary amnesia, but a crew made who survived the crash was there to help him out.

The Japanese forces were miles away at the top of the mountains, so Krause and the other survivors had enough time to get away from the scene of the crash before being tracked by the nemy. They went down river and came upon some natives who helped them out.

The plane’s radio operator was badly burned in the crash and he died after arriving at the village. Krause was later treated by an Indian doctor, and recalls that the doctor was impressed that he was from Minnesota, and that he had ambitions of visiting the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester.

It took three days for them to get back to the British troops and when he arrived, he met the other crash survivors who were separated from him. He was interviewed by a British newsman, and in a matter of days, the news made it back ot the States and many articles were published about their story, which Krause said his family read about at home.

It took nine days before Krause returned to his base and was rewarded with a variety of honors soon afterward, including three air medals and two distinguished flying crosses. One of the crosses was awarded for volunteering to fly in to conduct the mission and the other was for flying into enemy territory. After his discharge he received a Purple Heart from the Army, as well.

Krause’s service ended in 1945 and the war officially ended during his ship ride home. Krause sailed back to the states across the pacific on the H.B. Freeman ship and the journey lasted 62 days. He was never discharged as an officer, but was separated from active duty on Christmas day in 1945.

In 1994, Krause received an unexpected certificate of appreciation in the mail from the Chinese Air Force, who recognized his efforts to assist their nation 50 years earlier.

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After my father in law’s death, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Craig Duehring, a Civil Air Patrol student of Kenneth’s,  during high school,  contacted the family about nominating him to the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, we never followed though on this. He is forever in our Aviation Hall of fame.

My father in law.  My hero.

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Kenneth Krause- a daughter in law’s eulogy March 4, 2009

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Air Force, Life Journey, Mankato, memorials, Thoughts, Uncategorized.
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My father in law, Kenneth William Frederick Krause, died last week at 87 and was buried on Friday. For whatever reason there was no eulogy read at his funeral. No one spoke about Kenneth the man. However, of all the people I have ever known in my life, I feel as though his life is one of the most deserving to be celebrated. Consider this entry a daughter in law’s loving last gift to a father in law she cared for dearly. If you happen upon this and you knew Ken Krause, please add your thoughts and musings.

After reading my father in laws obituary, one of my friends asked: He was very Christian, very military and very republican, how did John EVER bring you home? This statement made me laugh, because on the surface, one could think that. But what the obituary did not mention is what a loving, accepting and giving person my father in law was.

He never wore his religion on his shirtsleeve; he lived it. He had a quiet faith that helped him through difficult things in his life and trust me he had his fair share. He was shot down over Burma in WWII, he nursed John’s mother through sickness before losing her to cancer, and he held my mother in law’s hand over the past many years as she has battled multiple melanoma. Through their health challenges and his he kept a quiet faith in God (and their doctors.) He never thrust his religion upon me or his grandchildren. Instead he embraced our lifecycle events joining us in them when he could. I never felt that he had anything but respect for the religion we followed; I think he just saw it as one different from his own: not better, not worse, just different.

Kenneth Krause loved life and lived it to the fullest. A self made man whose highest degree was a high school diploma, one of his greatest prides in life was that both of his sons hold graduate degrees. Even with many of his own, he was proudest of his sons’ achievements.
He was instrumental in everything aviation in Mankato, MN from serving on the airport commission to mentoring dozens of young men through participation in the Civil Air Patrol. He was a member of CAP for 62 years, serving as Commander for several of those. I flew with him one time, not really realizing his experience with aircraft.

As a young pilot in the Air Force, Kenneth flew C-47 cargo planes on a route known as “flying the hump.” He flew the treacherous 530 mile route through the Himalayas 72 times, a route that claimed 600 planes and 1,000 men. His plane was shot down and he was wounded on one of his passes through Burma. As he put it shortly before he died, it took one hour to fly in and 9 days to hike out. His tenure in the China Burma India war theater ended with a barrage of medals and honors He earned Distinguished Flying Crosses for service beyond the call of duty, four Bronze Stars and Air Medals, the Purple Heart, numerous theatre ribbons, and the Chinese Air Force Pilot Wings. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. My husband, John, said that Kenneth didn’t really talk about his experiences in the war until John was an adult. And he did not dwell on them. I suppose that time is needed to temper many of the unseen wounds.

As one of his friends, who just happened to be a Democrat, said to me at the visitation,

“I may not have agreed with many of Ken’s views, but of all people, he surely earned the right to have them.”

So true. He was very active in Minnesota’s Republican Party; he bled republican. Think about it. It surely takes a man of conviction and tough skin to be as republican as my father in law was, in Minnesota! He worked as the campaign manager for Sal Frederick, Minnesota State Senator, who subsequently became a lifelong friend. Ken Krause became friends with just about everyone he met.

He regularly met old friends for coffee. In fact, one of his local longtime haunts, The Wagon Wheel Café, sent along a coffee cup to the funeral. Friends told us of practical jokes and good natured fun. He also took great pride in never missing Rotary meetings. Rotary was a huge part of his life and his many friendships. If he had any regrets in life it would be that neither of his sons are pilots and neither are in Rotary. He gained so much through the relationships grown there; he felt that his sons were missing out on a huge life opportunity. There is no question that Kenneth Krause was loyal to the friends fortunate enough to have him in their lives.

He was loyal to Standard Oil, his long time employer, which then became Amoco which was then purchased by BP. No other gasoline went into his lifetime of Fords and Lincolns. When Kenneth Krause believed in something or someone, there was no standing in his way. But through it all, he always kept a sharp wit. Even in his final days, Ken made fun of my political beliefs with humor and filled the room with stories and jokes.

From the time I first met him, my father in law felt bigger than life to me. He has left his mark on my heart and the hearts of his many grandchildren. He will be missed.

A tribute from CAP