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Leonard John Kovar Collection

Leonard John Kovar Collection

Biographical Information

thumbnail of Kovar, Leonard John
Leonard John Kovar
State of Birth:
Home State:

War or Conflict
World War, 1939-1945
Military Status
Dates of Service
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit of Service
727th Bomb Squadron, 451st Bomb Group, 15th Air Force
Location of Service
San Antonio, Texas; Stamford, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona; Italy; Stalag Luft III, Germany; Miami Beach, Florida
Highest Rank
Second Lieutenant
Prisoner of War
Service History Note
Leonard John Kovar was born on 10/24/1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1940 and was in college at the outset of World War II. With what he describes as "mediocre grades," Kovar decided to leave school and enlist in the military. He entered active duty in the Army Air Forces in 1943. Kovar was selected for pilot training at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (SAACC), Texas. He successfully completed pre-flight training in San Antonio and was then sent to the Stamford Flying School, Texas, to complete his training. Kovar “washed out” out of pilot training in 05/1943, but was reclassified as a bombardier. He was reassigned to SAACC before moving on to bombardier training at San Angelo Army Air Field, Texas. Kovar completed additional training with his crew at Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson, Arizona, before being sent overseas in the summer of 1944. Kovar and his crew were assigned to the 727th Bomb Squadron, 451st Bomb Group, in Italy. Their 11th mission was on 08/22/1944 and their target was in Vienna, Austria. Before reaching the target, their plane was shot down by enemy fire. Kovar successfully ejected from the plane, but was later picked up by Hungarian civilians who turned him over to German soldiers. Kovar was a prisoner in Stalag Luft 3 until 04/1945 when the camp was liberated by General Patton’s forces. During his time as a POW, Kovar was able to correspond with his family at home. He returned to the States in the summer of 1945 and, after taking leave at home Minnesota, he was sent to Florida where he awaited orders for the Pacific Theater. These orders never materialized and, when the war ended, Kovar was honorably discharged. During his time in the service, Kovar resolved to go back to school and, upon his return to civilian life, he accomplished this goal. He attended seminary and was ordained a minister. He and his wife, Lorraine, lived in Hardin, Montana, where he presided over the First Congregational Church.

View Digital CollectionCollection Information

Type of Resource:
Audio: Audio Cassette [1 item] -- Oral history interview
Audio: Audio Disc [3 items] -- Audio correspondence
Manuscript: Civilian papers (certificates, forms, wills, etc) [ item] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents)
Manuscript: Clippings [ item] -- Typewritten document
Manuscript: Correspondence [183 items] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents)
Manuscript: Correspondence [32 items] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents)
Manuscript: Correspondence [25 items] -- Handwritten document
Manuscript: Correspondence [47 items] -- Handwritten document
Manuscript: Correspondence [6 items] --
Manuscript: Correspondence [17 items] --
Manuscript: Creative works [1 item] -- Typewritten document
Manuscript: Creative works [1 item] --
Manuscript: Diaries and journals [1 item] -- Handwritten document
Manuscript: Military papers (orders, personnel/201 files, etc) [ item] -- Typewritten document
Manuscript: Mixed (Multiple types of manuscripts) [ item] -- Typewritten document
Manuscript: Periodicals [3 items] -- Typewritten document
Manuscript: Regimental/unit histories [3 items] --
Manuscript: Transcript [1 item] --
Photograph: Original photographic print [59 items] -- Photograph
Computer File: Floppy Disk [1 item] -- Electronic file of manuscript
Coy Cross
Coy Cross
Contributor Affiliation/Organization:
Beale Air Force Base
Collection #:
Kovar, Leonard John
World War, 1939-1945--Personal Narratives
United States. Army Air Forces/Corps.
Prisoner of War--United States
Cite as:
Leonard John Kovar Collection
(AFC/2001/001/33917), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress


Last Edit: 2019-11-06


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  October 26, 2011
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