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Gen Joe William Kelly
Birth: Jan. 19, 1910
Waverly
Morgan County
Indiana, USA
Death: Jul. 8, 1979
Pensacola
Escambia County
Florida, USA

US Air Force General. He is remembered as the first 4-star commander of the Military Air Transport Service (now Air Mobility Command) and is credited with moving it into the jet age. After graduating from high school in Martinsville, Indiana in 1927, he attended Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana for a year before being selected to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1928. He graduated in June 1932 with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Infantry but decided to become an aviator and after completing flying school in 1933, he was assigned to the 94th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field (now Selfridge Air National Guard Base), Michigan. From February 1933 to May 1934, he was an airmail pilot for the US Army Air Corps, flying from Newark, New Jersey and Columbus, Ohio. Later, he served as a flight instructor at Randolph Field (now part of Joint Base San Antonio), Texas. In 1940 he was transferred to Santiago, Chile, as a member of the US Military Mission, remaining there for three years. Around January 1943 he returned to the US, to MacDill Field (now MacDill Air Force Base), Florida, and in June 1943, he was transferred to the European Theater of Operations. In January 1944, as a colonel, he commanded the 386th Bomb Group (Medium), 9th Air Force, a B-26 Marauder medium bomber unit. While under his command, the Group attained the highest record of any B-26 unit in the European theater for the number of successful sorties flown, tonnage of bombs dispatched, and enemy aircraft destroyed while at the same time maintaining the highest bombing accuracy score. In December 1944, he returned to the US to become the director of aviation at the US Military Academy. In the summer of 1946, he was selected to attend to Air War College at Maxwell Field (now Maxwell Air Force Base), Alabama, and after graduation, became an instructor there and then its Chief of Plans and Operations Division. In January 1948 he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command (now defunct) and commanded several bomber units, including the Far East Air Forces Bomber Command at Yokota Air Base, Japan. In 1953 he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington DC, where he was the director of Legislative Liaison, a position that was responsible for the development of public laws affecting the Air Force and furthering Air Force relations with Congress. In July 1958, he assumed command of the Air Proving Ground Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and in June 1960 he became the Commander-in-Chief of the Military Air Transport Service (now Air Mobility Command) at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois and was promoted to the rank of general in June 1963. One of his first tasks as commander of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) was directing a massive humanitarian airlift to Chile as a result of their historic earthquake that occurred on May 22, 1960. During his tenure at MATS, he was involved in Operation Deep Freeze, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Congo airlift. He served as the MATS commander until he retired in July 1964, with 32 years of continued active military service with the US Army Air Corps and Air Force. Among his military and foreign awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguish Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 9 oak leaf clusters, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Defense Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Belgian and French Croix de Guerre, the British Distinguished Service Order, and the Chilean Legion of Merit. He was a command rated pilot with almost 9,700 flying hours. In 1962, for his interest in and support of the Air Reserve Forces, he was chosen for the Minuteman Hall of Fame Award by the Reserve Officers Association. He died at the age of 69. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Virginia Johnson Kelly (1913 - 1984)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Barrancas National Cemetery
Pensacola
Escambia County
Florida, USA
Plot: 33, 450
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Offi...
Record added: Mar 04, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 2939628
Gen Joe William Kelly
Added by: Charles A. Lewis
 
Gen Joe William Kelly
Added by: Doug Lindsey
 
Gen Joe William Kelly
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Ray Rauanheimo
 
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