Kovner was admired for his qualities as a leader, brother, friend, son, and brother in arms. Here are a few quotes from those who knew him.
“Many of us loved Koko for various qualities. He had charm. He was honest and sincere. He never pretended to ideals or information he didn’t have. Yet he fearlessly tackled situations which were meant for older heads. He was true to his own code, which was high, although he would have been the last one to say so.
The boys in the Fraternity house looked up to Koke as a pillar of strength. They learned to count on his straightforward conclusions and his desire for their well-being.
I found humility in your son. He was deeply loyal and gave indications of being one of the truly fine men of my world. He was worth a bucketful of people who place premiums on material things. He made my life richer by his presence.”
- Isadore Wachs (in a letter to Kovner’s father), August 1944
“He most assuredly loved Temple and all of you men. It is our greatest hope and desire that Koko shall live on and his character and ideals are an inspiration to other boys for years to come.”
- Manny Kovner (Koko’s father), January 1945
“Koko was an exceptional guy. While the same age, he projected a more mature image and was looked up to in an almost ‘father-like’ fashion. Several times he took me aside and redirected my wayward course.
Kovner was a natural leader and we all looked up to him. He died on his last mission believing that we had to win.”
- Dr. Alvin Krasne ’45 (classmate), February 1979
“He was a man full of fun, good humor, and always ready for a joke. But Koke would fight like hell against anything that jeopardized the chapter. The great thing in his life was the fraternity and his brothers.”
- Isadore Wachs, 1990
“I flew with Koko on about 20 missions on Superstitious Aloysius. Kovner was a great guy and a personal friend of mine. We also used to call him Koko. I met Koko in 1943, when we were made a group. I really can’t explain how we got to be good friends. He was just a good, plain guy, with no airs as to officer and enlisted man. I did respect his rank when we were on base, but when flying we were all one.”
- Armand Battista, S/Sgt., Tail gunner USAAF, February 2008
“We are delighted that your fraternity honors this brave man, Alfred Kovner, who gave his last full measure in defense of freedom. Freedom isn't free; it comes at a tragic price. He was our brother as well as a brother to all in the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity. The 91st BGMA had the most frightening of formal initiation rituals. That was to daily fly into the air defenses of Nazi-occupied Europe.”
- Mike Banta, President, 91st Bomb Group Memorial Association, 2009