World War II vet geared up for great-grandson’s ceremony

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A World War II veteran is getting honored again, but this time by his great-grandson.

Ark City resident, Robben Ledeker, 94, traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia on Thursday, Jan. 16 to do the honors in his great-grandson Codey’s graduation ceremony.

“Well, I guess it started when he joined the army and signed up for the infantry to go to basic training,” said Robben Ledeker, World War II Navy Lieutenant Commander. “He said he would like me in my uniform to do the ‘Turning Blue Ceremony.'”

Ledeker says he has a few ideas as to why his great-grandson chose him.

“Evidentially because I’m so old,” said Ledeker. “I guess he thought I was a pretty good military man and I think he’s right.”

He didn’t have to think twice before accepting his great-grandson’s invitation, but that’s when he realized some alterations were in order.

“I tried on my old uniform and for some reason, it hung there for 30 years and it shrank a little bit in the wrong places,” said Ledeker. This is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, I thought this was a good year to get a new uniform.”

That’s when Ledeker and his daughter Ann had to travel to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita to get him ready for the big day.

“We had to pull from multiple exchanges in order to get his uniform because his other one, he didn’t like it,” said April Glickman, Store Manager of Military Exchange. “Every time he came to try it on, he made sure I checked it to see if it was okay.”

Ledeker says now his family has a new tradition.

“We both look pretty good in hats I thought,” said Ledeker. “I’ve never worn a beret before and I don’t think he’s ever worn a naval cap either. It was a great honor and a great privilege. I felt so fortunate that I’m still 94 years old and can travel and do something like that.”

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