A World War II veteran carried out a rare honor when he commissioned his grandson last month during a U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony.
Army Air Force veteran Walter Kloc, 101, traveled from Amherst, New York all the way to Colorado Springs to commission his grandson, Joseph Kloc, WGRZ originally reported last week.
The Air Force Academy posted photos of the commissioning ceremony on Facebook along with the caption, “This is what it’s all about. Today, Joseph Kloc was commissioned by his grandfather Walter Kloc. The 101-year-old WWII veteran traveled all the way from New York for this moment. Walter received a standing ovation, and everyone in the room was gifted with a memory they’ll never forget.”
Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the Air Force Academy’s superintendent, told The Gazette that Joseph Kloc was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Walter and his son William Kloc made the trip together to the graduation.
“I’m so excited for him,” said William Kloc of his son Joseph. “He’s fulfilling his dream, and he was so excited that his Grandfather… World War Two, Air Force, bombardier, pilot, could come and commission him,” he told WGRZ.
“Absolutely thrilled and excited,” Walter Kloc’s wife of 72 years, Virginia, told WGRZ.
Walter Kloc was a former bombardier and Army Air Force pilot during World War II. After the war, he began working at General Motors.
Of the message he wanted to leave his grandson with, Walter Kloc said he wanted to “Congratulate him on his great work and what he’s done and wish him a good future.”
The ceremony for the Air Force Academy’s Class of 2019 was held Thursday, May 30. It was the academy’s 61st graduating class.
According to the Air Force Academy, 989 cadets were scheduled to graduate in the Class of 2019.
President Donald Trump spoke at the recent ceremony held in the Falcon Stadium, and he even stayed behind to shake the hand of every single graduate who came on stage to collect their diploma.
“Your country is sending you on a vital mission,” Trump told the graduates. “With your help, nothing will ever, ever, ever stop the United States of America.”
“Just being admitted to the Academy is a monumental achievement,” Trump said, adding that one in every 10 applicants doesn’t make the cut. “Only the best survive until the very end.”
“You’ve done so many things that nobody else can do, and in the end, you’ve come out on top. You have risen to every challenge, overcome every single obstacle, and proven yourselves worthy of the bars that will soon adorn your uniform,” Trump said.