BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — “This is the plane that we fixed after coming back from Vietnam, it was torn up. I don’t even know how it made it back. We got it back in shape and sent it back to work,” Air Force Veteran Willard Rose said.   

Willard Rose has many memories of his time in the U.S Air Force which dates to the year 1963.

He carried out many roles including being on the inspection team and working as an aircraft mechanic.  

“I was only 17 years old, and I had to have my mom and dad sign the papers to let me go in,” Rose said.   

During his time in the service, he traveled to Holland, France, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and across the country.  

“They shipped me back to the states, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That was great!”  

Rose served a total of 19 years in the service until an injury from a chemical spill at work.

“I had sprayed polyurethane foam in missile sites. It puts out poisoning; we had to wear masks and we had to put this foam stuff under there to keep water from getting in there,” Rose said.

During his spare time, he is a musician and plays several instruments including guitar.

In 2015 he was inducted into the Dakota Musicians Hall of Fame.  

“There is nothing like being a veteran. I feel like I’ve done my duty to my country. Anything we get, I deserve it, and they deserve it because we fought for this country,” Rose said.

Rose is originally from Virginia but has made North Dakota his home.  

“I met my wife here in North Dakota and that made me stay here. I got used to North Dakota. I love North Dakota now,” Rose said.

In April he was one of 93 veterans honored on the Western North Dakota Honor flight that traveled to the nation’s capital.  

“It was an enjoyable flight. It helped me a lot in thinking America does still care for its military people because there’s nothing worse than coming home and having people not even wanting to talk to you,” Rose said.

Rose says his time serving this country was a well-worth sacrifice.

“I always said it was a good job, it was good people. I was on an inspection team and I had it made, “Rose said.