MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Military heroes are being honored on this Veterans Day, the very people who often put it on the line, and that includes a man in Millbrook.
"We had a job to do," Win DePoorter said, as a matter of fact.
He was a fighter pilot, patriot, and the recipient of countless military medals ranging from the Silver Star to a National Defense Service Medal. In all, the military assigned 10 medals during DePoorter's lengthy career.
"I was defending my guys on the ground," he said.
This is a story chronicled in his thick album filled with photos, articles, and a man who knew no fear in the sky. DePoorter's war was the Vietnam War.
"You knew you were going after the bad guys," he said.
What makes the colonel's story even more amazing is he still holds an impressive record from his fighting days in Vietnam. The fighter pilot flew 657 air combat missions, and the enemy never brought him down.
"Not many people know about that, so I keep it to myself," DePoorter said.
Of all the memorabilia from Vietnam, there is a painting that means the most. It hangs in DePoorter's office, the painting of the wicked A-1E Skyraider in which DePoorter flew the most. He flew other fighter jets as well.
"It's a depiction of the actual event that occurred in that airplane," explained DePoorter.
DePoorter was never one who questioned the war or involved himself in the nasty politics at the time, just a native Tennessean born to fly with no regrets and no second thoughts.
"I don't think about it much anymore. It's so far beyond, so far long ago," he said.
The colonel, who retired from the Air Force after 28 years, knew war. He now knows peace. He lives quietly with his wife in their home in Millbrook.