"I wear my uniform because I am proud of it"

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By: Kyle Quick
New Haven, Mo – Staff Sergeant J.D Gilbert said, “I served in the Air Force for the sake of freedom.  I never thought about going to work [Service in the Air Force] just to go.  I thought about going to work so that maybe today, we could get 500 people back doing something to make a living for their families.”

“That was always my intention.”

Staff Sergeant Gilbert served in the 9th Air Force from 1942 to 1948 as an officer for the Military Police.  During different holidays throughout the year there’s a good chance you have seen this older gentleman wearing his Air Force Dress Uniform.

The 91-year-old Gilbert, when asked why he wears his uniform, said, “Because I am proud of it.”

After Sunday's parade Gilbert went around, making it a point to say hello to everyone.  Gilbert said, "I love seeing the people."

Gilbert served during the largest and most violent armed conflict in the history of mankind.  He said, “The worst day during my six years of service was the invasion of Normandy. Two thousand-five hundred men were killed.  Several days later General Eisenhower told me, “Sergeant, we lost a lot of good men”.”

Gilbert moved from Texas to New Haven ten years ago, after his wife passed away in 2003.  Gilbert said, “We were married for 57 years…so marriage still works.”

Gilbert lives in the senior apartments where he calls himself “a yard man”.  He said working in the yard is something he enjoys doing.

Gilbert became emotional when he said; “After it snows I get out there with a shovel…I shovel so the women won’t have to walk through the snow.”  Two years ago while outside shoveling snow, Gilbert's chin got frost bite.

Gilbert said, "My chin gives me some troubles today, but I'll go out and shovel snow again...yes sir I sure will."

Gilbert went into the ministry after serving in the Air Force and was a minister for 60 years.  Gilbert has five children, one of them a son who has lived in New Haven for 50 years.

QNHN would like to thank Staff Sergeant J.D. Gilbert for taking time to speak with us but more importantly, thank you for serving our country.  God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America.