Between the wars he won a few international balloon races; was the test pilot for the world's only successful metal-skinned dirigible; learned how to fly fixed-wing craft; and participated in an unsuccessful attempt at the world record for balloon altitude and bailed out after the balloon's envelope ruptured at altitude, riding the plummeting pressurized gondola down until it was safe to parachute.
During WWII he was promoted to Major General in '43 and took command of 8th Fighter Command before taking over the 2nd Bomb Division of the Mighty Eighth. He flew a couple dozen combat missions over occupied Europe and didn't retire until 1953, by which time the Hoosier country boy who'd been a private in the Marines when airplanes were novelties was now a lieutenant general who had commanded fleets of jets.
Meet Lieutenant General William Kepner:
|So cool that his buddies probably stored their beer in his pockets.|