Kees, Frank John, TSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Technical Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 748-Airplane Mechanic-Gunner, Flight Engineer
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1943, AAF MOS 748, 565th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1943
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Technical Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Kees, Frank John, TSgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Alexandria, KY
Last Address
Benghazi, Libya

Casualty Date
Aug 01, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Alexandria Cemetery - Alexandria, Kentucky
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  2014, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Flight Engineer Badge
Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
389th Bombardment Group, Heavy565th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 737, 389th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 748, 565th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
 Colleges Attended 
University of Kentucky
  1936-1940, University of Kentucky
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-24 Liberator  
  1943-1943, B-24 Liberator
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
TSgt Frank J. Kees was born in Alexandria, Kentucky on May 9, 1917, the son of George and Frances Kees. He grew up in Alexandria and attended Campbell County High School. He then attended and graduated from the University of Kentucky where yearbooks show him as a member of Delta Chi fraternity.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on May 7, 1942 at Fort Thomas in Newport, Kentucky. He received basic training and then flight engineer/mechanics school. He was assigned to the 389th Bomb Group at Hethel, England, but part of the unit was temporarily deployed to Benghazi, Libya. There, he was assigned as a flight engineer and top turret gunner on a B-24. Some accounts give his assignment as the 565th Bomb Squadron; others state 567th.

He flew at least two missions in July 1943, both against Italian targets. On August 1, 1943, his crew was tasked as part of the bombing raid on the oil facilities and storage areas at Ploesti, Romania.

The mission was briefed to be flown at 200 feet altitude instead of the usual 10,000 feet in order to negate the effects of the high-range 88 mm flak guns. German intelligence, however, learned of the plan and loaded the area with small and medium caliber flak weapons. As the aircraft swept in toward the target, these guns engaged the bombers. The gunners aboard the B-24s were literally firing level or upwards at the flak batteries.

Observers state that burning debris from bomb explosions set many aircraft ablaze. Kees' aircraft took flak hits that riddled the plane, shot out one engine, and cut many vital control cables. As the aircraft left the area, it became uncontrollable, and the pilot crash-landed it approximately 2 miles south of Ploesti at Floresti, Romania. Nine  of the crew survived and were captured; TSgt Kees was killed in either the attack or the crash.

His body was eventually returned to the U.S. where he was buried in the Alexandria Cemetery in Alexandria, Kentucky.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Reports USAAF Accident Reports
MARA-AAD Enlistment records



The aircraft involved in this incident was B-24 D # 42-40782, nicknamed "Chattanooga Choo Choo," assigned to the 566th Bomb Squadron. Records of the 389th also refer to this aircraft as "Shoot, Fritz. You're Faded" but no photo could be found.

Missing Air Crew Report 158 identifies the crew as:

1 Lt Robert J. O'Reilly     p
2 Lt Ernest L. Paulson    c-p
2 Lt Richard W. Britt     nav
2 Lt Alfred D. Romano   bomb
TSgt Frank J. Kees    eng/tt gun
TSgt Clell B. Riffle    r/o
SSgt Troy O. McCary      btg
SSgt Jack W. Bowker     wg
SSgt Phillip A. Rurak     wg
SSgt Louis Medeiros    tail gun

TSgt Kees was the only fatality. All other crew members were captured.

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