Lieutenant Colonel rank insignia
Major rank insignia
Captain rank insignia
First Lieutenant rank insignia
Second Lieutenant rank insignia
Staff Sergeant rank insignia
Sergeant rank insignia
Corporal rank insignia
Private First Class rank insignia
Private rank insignia
Lt.Col. Orville Kjegaard
Retirement photo - 1960

Lieutenant Colonel Orville H. Kjelgaard was born in Oswego (near Wolf Point), Montana on August 8th, 1919. He enlisted as a private in the United States Army on March 6th, 1939 at Fort Missoula, Montana and was trained as a baker. He served in various positions attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant prior to entering Officer Candidate School at Fort Warren, Wyoming in July 1942 and obtaining his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Forces.

In 1947 when the Army Air Forces were transitioned to the United States Air Force, he made the transition as well.

He finished out his career state-side during the height of the cold war, serving in various command and staff positions before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on September 30th, 1960.

His awards & decorations include:

  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • American Defense Service Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Korean Service Medal
  • United Nations Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal
  • Air Force Longevity Service Award w/ 4 Oak Leaf Clusters

When he started his career the United States military still used bi-planes. During his career he served in two wars, survived three airplane crashes, watched his friend Chuck Yeager break the sound barrier, and witnessed the start of the space race.

He served at overseas bases from China to Alaska, and state-side from Washington to Georgia.

He served with Training Command, China India Burma Command, Air Material Command, Alaskan Air Command, Air Defense Command, Far East Command, and Continental Air Command.

He is one of the last of what is now called the Greatest Generation and he will be missed.


Air Force Commendation Medal American Defense Medal American Campaign Medal Asia Pacific Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal Korean Service Medal Armed Forces Reserve Medal United Nations Korean Service Medal Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon

Click Here to view Orville's memorial video

Click Here To view Orville's memorial tribute