A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in engineering, Kenneth Lee Porter joined the United States Air Service on 6 August 1917. Following training in Canada and Texas, he was commissioned and assigned to the 147th Aero Squadron in January 1918. Flying the Nieuport 28, Porter scored his first victory on 2 July 1918, sharing in the destruction of a Pfalz D.III. In August, the 147th Aero was re-equipped with the SPAD XIII and Porter scored four more victories to become an ace on 12 October 1918. Two days before his final victory, Porter replaced Wilbert White as commander of C Flight when the latter was killed in action. After the war, Porter resumed his career in engineering, worked for Boeing during World War II and was a member of the United States fighting pilots Association.
The Ann Arbor Times News, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Friday, 28 May 1920, page 13
The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, 6 February 1988, page 41
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Kenneth Lee Porter, Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Chateau-Thierry, France, July 2, 1918. Lieutenant Porter, with four other pilots, attacked 12 enemy aircraft (type Pfalz), flying in two groups well within the enemy lines. As soon as the enemy planes were sighted, Lieutenant Porter maneuvered to get between them and the sun and with great difficulty gained the advantage. While three of the other American officers dived on the lower formation Lieutenant Porter and Second Lieutenant John H. Stevens engaged the upper formation in a bold and brilliant combat, two planes of which they crashed to the earth.
General Orders No. 1, W.D., 1919
Croix de Guerre
An excellent pilot. He has always been efficient and brave, firing on enemy convoys from low altitude, attacking balloons, forcing them down. On 2 July 1918, together with two other pilots, he attacked a formation of 12 enemy planes and brought down one of his adversaries.
French Croix de Guerre citation
02 Jul 1918
Pfalz D.III 1
28 Sep 1918
Rumpler C 2
10 Oct 1918
Hannover CL 3
10 Oct 1918
12 Oct 1918
Hannover CL 4
Shared with Lt T C Bronson, Lt C W McDermott, Lt Ralph O'Neill, Lt M O Parry, Lt J H Stevens