Arkansas
Military Veterans'
Hall of Fame

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Arkansas
Military Veterans'
Hall of Fame

Wilmer A. Plate | Arkansas Military Veterans' Hall of Fame

Wilmer A. Plate

Lieutenant Colonel  Wilmer A. Plate, United States Air Force, Retired, deceased, Jacksonville.  Colonel Plate was a World War II B-24 (Liberator) bomber pilot with the 489th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, European Theater, May – August 1944.  During this time he completed thirty-one combat missions, logging two hundred combat hours.  During his thirty years service Colonel Plate logged over one thousand flying hours and his awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, four Air Medals and two Air Force Commendation Medals.  He retired from active service in December 1971.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilmer Plate’s narrative for The Legion Of Merit which he received in as a Chief Warrant Officer reads: “Chief Warrant Officer Wilmer A. Plate distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as Staff Maintenance Officer, Systems Logistics Division, Deputy Chief of Staff Technical Requirements and Standards, Space and Missile Systems Organization, Los Angeles Air Force Station, California, from 2 September 1964 to 31 December 1972. During this period, the professional skill, exceptional management ability, and astute knowledge and experience of Warrant Officer Plate resulted in major contributions to the successful fulfillment of the space capsule recovery mission of the Space and Missile System Organization and the national defense. This singularly distinctive accomplishments of Warrant Officer Plate culminate a long and distinguished career in the service of his country, and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.  

Wilmer and Helen renew their vow's at during the 70th anniversary.

Will was married to the love of his life, Helen Plate, for 71 years before she passed away in 2011. He continued to court her throughout their marriage. One good example of this was when he was on an unaccompanied tour in Goose Bay Labrador. He had one yellow rose delivered to the house every Saturday during his tour. The entire neighborhood started watching for the florist every weekend.  They renewed their marriage vows on their 70th wedding anniversary. Family and many friends attended this joyous occasion.  He was a wonderful father and grandfather. He enjoyed “playing:” with all of us, such as teaching all of us, our cousins and our friends to water ski .Their two oldest grandchildren spent the summer with them at the lake when they were 11 and 13. Will and Helen took the kids fishing out on the lake every weekend. By the end of the summer, the kids had each caught over 800 fish. He wrote up a certificate for both of them and had it notarized so that people at home would believe them! He had a wonderful sense of humor. He also was a wonderful storyteller. Often times he would tell stories that would end with a hearty laugh from the listener(s).  The last book that he wrote is a collection of these stories. The family is working on getting that book published soon. He worked hard to keep himself in good mental and physical condition. He was an avid reader and played Lumosity every day on the computer. In addition, even at the age of 99, he worked out at the Air Force Base Gym with a "personal" trainer two to three times a week. He was well known for his love of ice cream too.  He rarely finished up his day without a bowl of ice cream.

Will enjoying his ice cream.

Wilmer and Helen, with Helen's sister laughing at one of Will's stories at their 70th anniversary and vow renewal.

Will enjoying his ice cream.

Wilmer and Helen, with Helen's sister laughing at one of Will's stories at their 70th anniversary and vow renewal.

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