Others remember too:
- Lex Calls the Roll
- Laughing Wolf at Black Five Remembers
- as does John at Castle Argghhh
- and Steve at the Woodshed
On July 22, 1944, Kelly was the navigator on a B-24J Liberator on a bombing raid of the oil fields at Ploesti, Romania. Returning to Lecce air base in Italy, the plane was struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed in what is now Croatia, approximately 430 miles southwest of Ploesti. Of the ten crewmen on board, eight survived and bailed out of the aircraft before it crashed. The rear gunner died and his body was later recovered. One of the surviving crewmen saw Kelly bail out before the crash, but said he struck a rocky cliff face when the wind caught his parachute. His body was not found at that time.
After researching information contained in U.S. wartime records, specialists from DMO’s Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD) in 2005 interviewed residents from Dubrovnik and Mihanici village who had information related to WWII aircraft losses in the area. One resident recalled a crash in which one of the crewmen landed on a pile of rocks on Mt. Snijeznica after his parachute failed to open. He said locals buried the individual. Based on witness descriptions of the burial location, the team searched the mountaintop, but was unable to locate the burial site.
Additional JCSD archival research in Croatia confirmed the earlier information found in U.S. records. In June 2006, the Dubrovnik resident reported to JCSD that he had continued the search and found the grave site of the American serviceman. He sent pictures of both the site and the remains to DPMO. In September 2006, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the burial site, confirming with local villagers that it was the same site photographed by the Dubrovnik resident. The team recovered human remains at the site.
Welcome home Lieutenant Kelly, rest easy now that your mission is complete.
Article Series - MIAs Return Home
- Home is the Sailor…
- Airmen Missing In Vietnam War Are Identified: Spectre 13
- Navy Aviator Missing In Action From the Vietnam War Identified
- Memorial Day Remembrance: Ploesti Raid Aircrewman Returns Home
- Naval Aviator Missing In Action From the Vietnam War Identified
- Airmen Missing in Action from Vietnam War Identified
- Navy Crew MIA From Vietnam War is Identified
- Pilot Missing From the Vietnam War is Identified
- Missing WWII Airmen are Identified
- Flightdeck Friday: MIA Edition – Vietnam War Era Pilot Identified
- Pilot Missing In Action From The Korean War Is Identified
- Flightdeck Friday (II) – MIA Edition
- Flightdeck Friday: MIA Edition – Missing WWII Airman Returns Home
- Flightdeck Friday: USMC WWII MIA Return Edition
- Flightdeck Friday: MIA Edition – Missing WWII Airman Returns Home (UPDATE)
- August 25, 1944 – Black Friday and the 474th FG
- Air Force Pilot Missing In Action From Vietnam War Is Identified
- POW/MIA: “Prometheus” Unbound, The Last One Comes Home
- Seven Missing WWII Airmen Identified
- Overseas RFI: 474th Fighter Group (WWII)
- POW/MIA: Of “Thuds,” ROLLING THUNDER and an Airman From Red Wing – 1965