World War II veteran bowls a mean game

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Heather Heiney
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
A young person might imagine that an 89-year-old would spend his birthday sitting in a rocking chair, wearing a paper hat secured to his head with elastic and gumming a piece of chocolate cake. Bernard Moyer, however, spent his 89th birthday at Gaudé Lanes hurling a 12-pound bowling ball and maintaining his 150 average.

Moyer served in the Army during World War II and went on to work more than 30 years of civil service for the Air Force. During that time he guarded concentration camps, was stranded in Germany for nearly a month when the Battle of the Bulge broke out to the south and visited more than 25 different countries on civil service temporary duty.

"I traveled halfway across the world one way and halfway across the world the other way," Moyer said.

He recently moved to Biloxi to be closer to his son, Master Sgt. Bernard Moyer Jr., 335th Training Squadron instructor supervisor. Although his father taught him how to bowl, this is the first time they've ever had the opportunity to be on a league together.

"I know growing up my sister got the bowling genes, but she listened to what he taught her," Moyer Jr. said. "It took me a while, probably after I joined the military, to figure out that he was right."

Moyer has survived two bouts of cancer, a heart attack and a stroke and is now legally blind. Despite the fact that he can only see a white glow at the end of the lanes, Moyer will not give up his more than 50-year hobby and continues to bowl two to three times per week in three separate leagues. He even made his own ball carrier out of PVC pipes.

Patricia English, operations clerk at Gaudé Lanes, said that she sees Moyer every week.

"We have a lot of regulars, so it's like a family," she said. "What makes it special is seeing everyone enjoying themselves."

At the tender age of 74, Moyer bowled a perfect 300 game.

"I felt very good," he said. "I was getting kisses and hugs from all the lady bowlers."

"I like the challenge to do as good as I did once before," Moyer said. "If I can bowl over 100 at my age, I'm very happy."

When Moyer began bowling, the balls were made out of rubber and score was kept with pencil and paper. Now at Gaudé Lanes, there are large screen televisions where the score is kept electronically and the brightly-colored balls become iridescent in the black light every Friday and Saturday night during Hurricane Alley glow bowling.

"I suppose as long as I can stand on my own two feet and throw a ball, I'll be bowling," he said.