Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Lt. Col. William J. Kennard


Photo of Lt. Col. William J. KennardWilliam J. Kennard graduated from Pitt Medical School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1930. He was a 36-year-old lieutenant colonel and senior flight surgeon stationed at Clark Field on Bataan when the Japanese attacked.


In order to receive medical supplies and mail, American airmen had to fight their way through the Japanese Zeros with “bamboo fleet” aircraft. Bamboo was used to hold the wings to fuselages and to stabilize the motors on the stanchions. Kennard and the other medical personnel kept the airmen under observation in order to keep them well enough to fly.


Kennard was wounded in the right temple by a bomb fragment, for which the Order of the Purple Heart was bestowed upon him. General Harold George later gave him a Silver Star for gallantry in action. Kennard returned to his home in Pittsburgh in August 1942, although the Official Army List for Allegheny County from June 27, 1946 lists him as missing.