Gerrit Kuiken

Gerrit Kuiken

2021 Veterans Day Special Section: Gerrit Kuiken

For this year's Veterans Day special insert, we asked that you tell us your story of service, or the story of your loved one who served.

This year, we are proud to share 17 of those stories, with both images and words telling us all about some of the fine Whatcom County residents past and present who served our country.

This is one of those stories. Meet Gerrit Kuiken.

Branch: US Air Force

Rank: Chief Master Sgt./E-9

Served: 1952-1982

Chief Master Sgt. Gerrit Kuiken served 30 years in the US Air Force as Photo Repair/Avionics/Electronic/Radar/test equipment Technician/instructor/Supervisor/manager supporting mostly Heavy Bombers B-29/B-47/B-52, during the Korean War/Vietnam War and the Cold War, the latter - which we won.

He was awarded more than 30 medals, commendations and ribbons, including three Meritorious Metals, and European Theatre Senior NCO of the year, 1979. 

He served a total of 11 years at forward overseas bases, including Okinawa (1953-55); Turkey (1969-71), Johnston Island (1973-74); Athens, Greece (1974-80); with numerous temporary duties in countries, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Italy.

His career high point was serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor (Sgt. Major) to the Hellenkon AB; Athens, Greece ranking officer (1976-79), responsible for 5000 military members and dependents. He served at seven ID, CA, FL, CO stateside bases. 

Kuiken concluded his full-time working career, first as the maintenance supervisor (1983) and then the personnel and admin. supervisor over 1300 employees (1983–88), building the new King Khalid Intl Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Since retiring, Chief Kuiken has engaged in civic/church volunteer work, life-time Republican Party award, while owing/managing two duplexes. Was married, three children, 13 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.