Kenneth Rigby
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 12/1943 - 05/1946
Ball Turret Gunner

Kenneth was born near Shreveport in Cedar Grove as one of four children. His parents were Samuel and Mary Elizabeth nee Fearnhead Rigby, who emigrated from England to Kansas City before World War I. Samuel came to Shreveport to work for J. B. Beaird Corporation, but a workplace accident cost him sight in one eye. He then bought a corner grocery. Kenneth was born a few months later. By age seven he was wrapping packages and learning to butcher. In his spare time, he went to movies and played softball. In its home behind the store, the family listened to the BBC on shortwave radio. They attended Cedar Grove Methodist Church. Kenneth graduated from Byrd High School in January of 1943. He enlisted "right out of high school" but was not called to active duty until he turned 18. He entered a program at Barksdale Field to learn aircraft mechanics, where he worked mostly on B-26 medium bombers. The program closed after six months. He worked at the post office and then was called to active duty in November of 1943. Kenneth completed basic training at Amarillo Air Force Base but was not allowed to finish cadet training when an X-ray showed a spot on a lung. He was assigned as assistant postal clerk for his squadron until he was selected for gunnery school at Harlingen Air Force Base in Harlingen, Texas. He trained in the B-24 and was assigned to Europe as a ball turret gunner. He was in training in Lincoln, Nebraska when Germany surrendered. "They just stopped the B-24 training immediately," he recalls. He was reassigned to B-29 gunnery training, and returned to Harlingen, where he was still was in training when Japan surrendered. Sent to Scott Air Force Base in St. Louis, Missouri he was assigned to U.S. Postal Service. He was discharged in May of 1946 at Hattiesburg, Mississippi as a private first class. In June Kenneth enrolled at LSU in Baton Rouge, financing his first year with money he had saved in the service and by tutoring and other jobs. He used the GI Bill for both his undergraduate studies as well as for law school, where he finished at the top of his class in January of 1951. Kenneth, living in Shreveport, practiced family law and taught at LSU Law School for 18 years, driving to Baton Rouge every week. Meanwhile, on June 8, 1951 he married Jacqueline Brandon. (They would have three children and four grandchildren.) Meanwhile, Kenneth took flying lessons and eventually earned his private pilot's license and an instrument rating. Today he owns a hangar at the downtown airport where he keeps his 1980-model Piper Arrow.