Kent Ware, Sr. – Kiowa
Tech Sergeant and Aerial Gunner, US Army Air Corps, World War II
Kent Ware, Sr., was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, on September 29, 1922. He was a member of the Kiowa Tribe and a member of the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society and was the founder of the Arizona Territory Gourd Society.
Ware was a highly decorated WWII Veteran who served as a Tech Sergeant and an Aerial Gunner on B-17s in the US Army Air Corps. He flew in 33 combat missions and participated in the Air Offensive in Europe with the 407th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group, and 8th Air Force. His decorations include:
- EAME Service Ribbons
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Cluster
- Purple Heart
- World War II Victory Medal
- Appreciation Medal from the people of Southern France
Ware was also a life member of the Disabled Veterans and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
In addition to his many accomplishments as a soldier, Ware was also an instrumental part of many tribal activies in Arizona and around the country. He was a founding member of the Phoenix Indian Center, Native American Connections (a.k.a. Indian Rehabilitation Center), Arizona Affiliation of Indian Centers, Native American Seniors Association, Phoenix Indian Medical Center Auxiliary, Parents Anonymous Committee, and the Indian Community Health Care Center.
Kent Ware, Sr. was inspired to establish the American Indian Veterans Memorial Organization (AIVMO) in 1993 to honor all American Indian Veterans, both living and deceased, around the country. He worked tirelessly to make the memorial a reality, until his death in August 2004. The legacy of AIVMO lives on through his son and daughter-in-law, who are raising funds and driving plans forward to start building the memorial structure in Steele Indian School Park in 2020.