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99-year-old WWII veteran from Spencer, IA, goes from student to teacher

SPENCER, Iowa (KTIV) — A Spencer man graduated from Iowa State in 1941. But this year, he’s going back to school and sharing his first-hand knowledge of World War II.

Some people attend community college to earn a degree or certificate. But for this 99-year-old veteran, it’s about lifelong learning and teaching from experience.

Knox Campbell served in North Africa with the Air Force during World War II. Campbell told the class he couldn’t believe the first time he was allowed to do a solo practice flight.

Campbell later became a pilot. He says it was difficult not only to survive the war, but also to survive the living conditions in a third world country.

“War is stupid. It’s a shame the human-animal can’t learn that war is downright stupid,” Campbell said.

Campbell’s presentation was part of the senior citizens program at Iowa Lakes Community College. The program allows seniors to participate in a non-credit college course. Campbell says he wanted to share his story because he says only 2% of World War II servicemen are still alive.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter if you’re in your early twenties and come here for a credit course. Or if you’re here for college seniors, retired and maybe in your 90s. You’re here for a learning experience,” said Teresa Campbell, Continuing Education Program Manager.

The “third age” program was so successful that it had to turn away presenters because the sessions were already sold out

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