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World War II veteran gets big surprise at museum

Bernhard Molter, center, was stationed at Tempelhof, the American site of the Berlin Airlift. He saw flights taking off or landing every three minutes for the next year. His daughter, A ir Force Reserve Command’s Lt. Col. Kelli Molter, surprised her father and mother, Bernhard and Marilyn Molter, at the Museum of Aviation’s art gallery with a display case and a picture book. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)

Bernhard Molter, center, was stationed at Tempelhof, the American site of the Berlin Airlift. He saw flights taking off or landing every three minutes for the next year. His daughter, A ir Force Reserve Command’s Lt. Col. Kelli Molter, surprised her father and mother, Bernhard and Marilyn Molter, at the Museum of Aviation’s art gallery with a display case and a picture book. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- For 15 years Air Force Reserve Command's Lt. Col. Kelli Molter has been thinking of a way to honor her parents.

All that thinking paid off March 9 as she surprised her father and mother, Bernhard and Marilyn Molter, at the Museum of Aviation's art gallery with a display case and a picture book.

As the family walked around the gallery, Bernhard Molter realized what was sitting in the corner.

"Who put that there?" he asked his daughters as he realized his memorabilia was in a glass case.

Kelli Molter said she thought her mother might have known something was going on but her dad - on the other hand - had no idea she was planning anything. Her mother was moved to tears.

"My dad was clueless," she said.

As he realized it was for him, he knew his eldest daughter was responsible.
"You had something to do with this," he said looking at her.

Indeed she did.

Kelli Molter took her father's Glen Miller record, military history, a few photographs, his uniform, two model aircraft of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and the C-54 Skymaster and his Berlin airlift ring.

"That's the only one I got," Bernhard Molter said of his military uniform to the gathering of about 30 friends and family members.

First Sgt. Bernhard Molter was stationed at Tempelhof, the American site of the Berlin Airlift. He saw flights taking off or landing every three minutes for the next year, his daughter said.

Molter said her dad was the reason she decided to join the Air Force. She wanted to be stationed in Germany so she could see the places her father saw.

"We have a very strong German heritage," she said. "My dad didn't let that get in the way of what was right for mankind and the liberations of Germany."

Bernhard and Marilyn Molter have been married for 52 years.

After leaving the service and returning to Milwaukee, Wis., Bernhard served with the police department for 33 years.

Bernhard Molter is quite humble about his part in saving the people in Berlin.

"It was just a job," he kept repeating.