Kraft, Dennis J.

Dennis James Kraft

Dennis James Kraft, CMSgt., USAF (Retired)

April 25, 1944 – June 28, 2022

Dennis James Kraft, a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, passed away Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Dennis was born in Rugby, ND on April 25, 1944, where he grew up until he enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 18. He valued his service highly and attained the rank of Chief Master Sergeant during his 21 years of service. He retired from the Air Force and went on to yet another career and retirement with USAA in San Antonio, TX where he resided.

Dennis served as a Pararescueman, also known as a PJ, in the USAF Special Operations Command where he proudly wore the Maroon Beret, Master Air Crew Wings, Master Parachute Wings and the Scuba Badge. He proudly lived by the motto “THESE THINGS WE DO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE”. Dennis received 28 medals, badges, citations, and campaign ribbons during his career, including the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Outstanding Airman of the Year. During one of his many missions, all over the world, Dennis served on a Jolly Green Giant helicopter in Vietnam, where he was wounded while rescuing a downed pilot. Dennis’s selfless actions earned him the award of the Silver Star for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

He also served as an instructor at the Pararescue School. He loved climbing and he loved teaching the student’s mountain rescue techniques.

Dennis is survived by his Wife of 34 yrs., Mary Ann Kraft, his brother Bruce Balerud, his children, Cory Burns, Jamie Owen, Kim Robinson, Niki Robinson and David Robinson, his grandchildren, Matthew Burns, Taylor Murphy, Sydney Pigott and Jesse Pigott Jr. who all loved this proud, kind, loving and generous man dearly.

Dennis very much enjoyed attending his Pararescue Reunions with his fellow PJ’s and sharing a brotherhood that spans decades. He enjoyed playing golf. He loved BBQ’ing his famous ribs for family gatherings and spending time with the ones he loved. He will be missed so very much. The family will receive friends from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at Porter Loring Mortuary.



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