Ken Porter was born on December 6, 1896, in Dowagic, Michigan. He received a bachelor's degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan, and enlisted in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps on August 6, 1917. After attending the University of Illinois School of Military Aviation for preflight training, he completed the Royal Flight Corps School at Toronto, Canada, and then U.S. Army flight training at Taliaferro Field, Texas, receiving his commission as a 2d Lt and his pilot wings on January 16, 1918. Lt Porter was then assigned to the 147th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, deploying to England and then Epiez, France in February 1918. He was credited with the destruction of 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before the war ended, and left the Army Air Service shortly after returning to the U.S., on February 26, 1919. After leaving active duty, Ken resumed his engineering career and during World War II he helped develop a hydraulic component for the Martin B-26 Marauder bomber. Ken Porter died on February 3, 1988, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in action near Chateau Thierry, France, 2 July 1918. Lt. Porter with four other pilots, attacked twelve enemy aircraft (Pfalz type) flying in two groups well within the enemy lines. As soon as the enemy planes were sighted, Lt. Porter maneuvered to get between them and the sun with great difficulty and gained the advantage. While three of the American officers dived on the lower formation, Lt. Porter and 2nd Lt. John H. Stevens engaged the upper formation in a bold and brilliant combat, two planes of which they crashed to earth.