Last Known Activity
Keith F. Bissonnette was born in Enderlin, North Dakota on November 7, 1920. His father, Jesse, moved the family to St. Paul, Minnesota when Keith was very young. Keith attended Cretin High School, a private Catholic high school, and was an athlete, playing soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey.
When he graduated in 1939, he signed with the St. Paul Saints baseball team, and began a life of baseball in the minor leagues. He played Class D in Florida; Class C in the Canadian-American League; and then moved to the South Atlantic League (SALLY) where he was playing when drafted at the end of the season in 1942.
Keith entered the Air Cadet program in February 1943. He was graduated and commissioned in late 1943, and was further assigned to pilot training in the P-47 aircraft. In April, 1944, he was assigned to the 88th Fighter Squadron of the 80th Fighter Group, at that time operating in Burma. He flew a total of 200 combat missions here.
On March 28, 1945, Bissonnette took-off on a mission against Japanese troop concentrations and supply depots. He never returned from the mission, and the presumptive finding was Killed in Action due to aircraft crash.
His body was never recovered, but he is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing in Manila American Cemetery. There is a gravestone that appears to be a headstone in the Calvary Cemetery in Saint Paul, Minnesota, bit www.abmc.gov still lists "no burial - Walls of Missing."
While assigned to the 88th Fighter Squadron, Bissonnette flew P-47D #42-27542, no name. Nose art consisted of a large death's head on the cowling, and the squadron motto, "Burma Banshees."
Strangely, there is no Missing Air Crew Report for this incident; however, there is an aircraft accident report that states the pilot was KCR (killed in crash.)