KELLEY, JOHN CALVIN, First Lieutenant, Service # 0-726034, U.S. Army Air Force


John C. Kelley was born 16 November 1917 to Albert Alonzo Kelley (1877-1935) and Laura Ellen Luttrell (1879-1973). Siblings included: Brooks Kelley (1903-1906), Bruce E. Kelley (1903-1993), Reese Kelley (1904-1985), Mary Sue Kelley (1906-1996), Amy Kelley (1908-1973), Alma Kelley (1911-2006), Albert Alonzo Kelley Jr. (1913-2004), Francis Willard Kelley (1914-1989), Jeanette Elaine Kelley (1920-2010) and Bill Sunday Kelley (1923-2004). John was from a rural community of Garland, Tennessee. An excellent athlete, he played baseball and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, TN, on a football scholarship. He enlisted 7 January 1942 in Jackson, Mississippi, as an enlisted aviation cadet (enlisted service # 14023725). He was then described as 5'8", 168 lbs, and from Tipton, TN.


After training, he was sent overseas and assigned to the 493rd Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, Heavy, 10th Air Force, in India. His B-24J, Tail # 42-73059, was downed 14 November 1943. As a Japanese POW, he died of his burns and inadequate medical care in the Rangoon Cantonment on 17 December 1943. He has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.


The Covington Leader, on 14 December 1944, published a brief article that Lieut. John Kelley, who was reported missing over a year ago, has been declared officially dead (by Public Law), according to a report by the missing flyer's mother, Mrs. A.A. Kelley of Garland, TN. Further information can be found at www.johnckelley.wordpress.com. He is remembered by Sue Krall, Avon, OH (niece), Leslie (Kelley) Roane, Burlison, TN (grand niece), and Theta (Kelley) Roane, Burlison, TN (niece). On 2 August 1943, the Kingsport, TN, Kingsport News reported that 2ndLt John C. Kelley of Covington had been awarded the Air Medal.