KEARNS, ROBERT FRANCIS, Second Lieutenant, # 0-671934, USAAF
Robert F. Kearns was born on 12 July 1920 in East Hartford, Connecticut, to John Thomas Kearns (1890-1961) (CT) and Jane Agnes (Fraser) Kearns (1886-1932) (Montreal, Quebec, Canada). Siblings included John Homer Kearns (1912-1991), William Robert Kearns (1916-2004), Richard Thomas Kearns (1922-1992), Thomas Edwin Kearns (1924-2009). Living with them in 1930 was a maternal grand-uncle, William J. McKee (1872-1948) (CT). He was a student at Ohio State University, Athens, OH. He was married to Joanne “Joan” (Snowberg) Kearns, 3703 Ingleside Rd, Shaker Heights, OH, on 18 September 1942, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
He registered for the WWII draft 16 February 1942, a student, residing at 1572 Main St., East Hartford, CT, and described himself as 5’10”, 158 lbs, with brown hair and hazel eyes. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced school and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India and assigned to pilot the C-46 Commando transport. On 31 January 1944 a Curtiss C-46A Commando, # 41-24708, assigned to 10th Air Force, Station 9, Mahanbari, India, departed its airfield on a cargo mission to Kunming, China, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). It crashed in Arunachal Pradesh (a state), India. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Saint Marys Cemetery, East Hartford, Hartford Cp., CT. He was awarded the Air Medal.
His brother, Richard T. Kearns, born 12 August 1922, served in the U.S. Army from 15 February 1943 to 1 February 1945. He died 27 July 1992
His brother, Thomas E. Kearns, born 29 July 1924, served in the U.S. Army (Technician 5th Grade) from 8 July 1943 and the USAF, Technical Sergeant, in WWII and the Korean War. He died 22 November 2009 and is buried in the Catawba Memorial Park, Hickory, Catawba Co., North Carolina.
His brother, William R. Kearns, born 12 November 1916, served in the U.S. Navy, Radar Mate 3rd Class, on the U.S. Eldorado, from 23 March 1944 to 13 December 1945. He died 16 December 2004 and is buried in the Saint Marys Cemetery, East Hartford, CT.