Keator, a highly decorated World War II veteran, earned his degree in 1939. The next year he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and after pilot training was assigned to the Philippines.

On Dec. 8, 1941, Keator and other members of the squadron intercepted Japanese fighter aircraft enroute to the Philippines. In the ensuing battle, he scored the first aerial victory in the battle of the Philippines, a feat which, along with another confirmed and a third probable kill, earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest honor.

Life Magazine chronicled the exploits in its first issue following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Louisiana Legislature passed a resolution honoring Keator for conspicuous gallantry in action. The next year he experienced a forced landing in the Pacific, a rescue by island natives and a last minute escape from Bataan in the face of advancing Japanese forces.

After the war, he pursued an illustrious career spanning 28 years and four continents. As an engineer in Air Force laboratories, he pioneered numerous systems used in military aircraft. He rose to the rank of colonel, commanding a 200-engineer organization providing support to the operational fleet at the time of his retirement from the military. He passed away in 1981.