WASHINGTON, Ind. (WTWO-WAWV) — For 104 years, Ned B. Kent has passionately embraced life. Even today, at an assisted living facility, he stays very busy taking care of the flowers and plants.
“I water the 64 pots inside Monday, Wednesday and Friday and as soon as I get that done there’s something out here to do,” he said.
Kent was born in Greene County to two farmer parents. After graduation from Sandborn High School in 1935, he became a bookkeeper in Evansville. But then in 1941, Kent was drafted into the U.S. Army and, due to his office skills, was assigned to clerical duty at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana.
“When they interviewed me and got my information, they read on there that I could write and take shorthand and they said we need somebody like that,” Kent said.
In 1943, Kent was informed by his Sergeant that he was being shipped overseas. He was based in North Africa and keep records about personnel and materials.
“Everything just seemed to be clerical I did a lot of service records for men when they were transferred from one company to another,” Kent explained. “I had an assignment with a quartermaster just typing all day long they chose me and a 2nd Lt. named Eddie Price to fly to Naples, Italy and gather information about rations.”
Kent has always had a strong faith and even though he didn’t see combat, he knew many people who did and he did what he could to help them.
“I knew the date of the invasion of Marceille, France and I got out of my bunk at midnight when I heard the planes go over for this attack,” Kent said. “I got out of my bed and kneeled down and prayed for these men.”
Toward the end of the war, Kent endured a personal loss.
On Good Friday 1945, he received a telegram that his mother has passed away and that he could not go home for the funeral. Later that year, he was sent back to the U.S. and during the Atlantic crossing he learned of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Kent said he was thankful that the war was over. He also added that flying over the Statue of Liberty during that moment is something he will never forget.
“Then when we got to see the Statue of Liberty,” Kent said. “We threw her a kiss.”