War Hero Dies

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, May 25 2012 at 3:24 PM, Updated: Fri, May 25 2012 at 3:47 PM

People in Klamath Falls will be mourning the loss of a local war hero this Memorial Day weekend.

Retired fighter pilot Bill Harris is credited with shooting down 16 planes in the South Pacific during World War II.

Harris was honored at Kingsley Field on his 90th birthday six years ago, when Lt. Col. Curtis McLain had 'nose art' placed on his F-15 in recognition of Harris...

"I wanted to kind of take that alone, into tradition - and fly his brand on my aircraft, and dedicate my aircraft to Bill Harris.  And so, in theory, he'll always be flying with me."

In an interview from June of 2006, Bill Harris noted that the men and women from Kingsley Field had stayed in close contact with him...

"These people have been so wonderful to my wife and family.  The whole family - look at 'em.  They have just really made spoiled people out of us sometimes."

Harris died Wednesday at his home in Midland at the age of 96.

A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for June 16th.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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