Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) Kenneth Koval joined the Air Force in 1952 and attended B-36 Peacemaker school to be a gunner. Prior to finishing the class, he was sent to learn maintenance on B-47 Stratojets at Chennault Air Force Base in Lake Charles, La.
After Chennault AFB closed in 1960, Koval was reassigned to the B-52 Stratofortress as a tail-gunner.
Koval logged more than 6,367 flying hours—1,048 of which were combat hours and earned flying 221 combat missions over North and South Vietnam.
In 1966 he was assigned to an evaluation team in Vietnam tasked with assessing B-52 bomb drops during Operation Linebacker II. For that, Koval was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and other awards.
Eventually, he was assigned as chief gunner—responsible for the training of combat crew members for the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1979, Koval became a rated single-engine, multi-engine instrument flight instructor, with an additional sea-plane rating. He worked for the Shreveport, La., Downtown Airport, Royal Airlines and eventually retired from Fry Master Corporation in 1996.
Koval earned many awards for his works with the Bossier City, La., Sheriff's Department, organizations helping the needy, the homeless and his work with wounded veterans.
Currently, Koval is a wildlife and hunting instructor to youth, and was inducted in the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Hall of Fame in 2015. He is also a member of the 12th Veterans of Foreign Affairs District Honor Guard and continues his work with local veterans and civic organizations.