Kelly, Harley A., SSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1944
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Kelly, Harley A., SSgt.

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
Not Specified
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
Cerignola, Italy

Casualty Date
Jan 21, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Mediterranean Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Rhone, France
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Walls of the Missing

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
According to his NARA enlistment files, Harley A. Kelly was born in West Virginia in 1915. He was drafted, and inducted into the military at Camp Livingston, Louisiana on July 14, 1942. His enlistment documents state he had completed 1 year of high school, and was employed as a semi-skilled driver or chauffeur.

He received training as an aerial gunner, and after completing the course, was assigned to a unit in North Africa where he flew at least 30 combat missions. On January 21, 1844, he was part of a crew assigned to bomb the airdrome at Salon De Provence, France.

Observers within the formation stated in later reports that as the formation approached the target area, the #3 engine on Kelly's aircraft began smoking. The pilot dropped from formation and was immediately attacked by enemy fighters as a straggler.

Even though machine gun and cannon fire raked the bomber, it appeared to be under control as it began a slow, sweeping spiral toward the sea. It was either ditched or crashed about 20 miles south of Toulon, France.

Observers stated the entire crew was seen in life rafts, heading on a course for Marseilles, France. They were never seen again. Listed as Missing in Action for a while, they were later declared dead.

SSgt Kelly is memorialized along with several of his crew in the Rhone American Cemetery in Draguignan, France on the Walls of the Missing.
NARA Enlistment Records


SSgt Harley A. Kelly was the waist gunner on B-17F # 42-30472, not named, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

One crewman was left off the loading list, but the Missing Air Crew Report 1952 contains a full crew roster. The crew was:

2 Lt Howard W. Ryan  p
2 Lt Paul C. Peters  c-p
1 Lt Alvin P. Goldstein  nav
2 Lt Baldwin J. Krober  bomb
TSgt Kenneth E. Canady  eng/tt gun
TSgt Joseph J. Buschko  r/o
Sgt  Richard L. Chelminiak  btg
SSgt Harley A. Kelly  wg
SSgt James T. McBride  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

TSgt Kenneth E. Canady is omitted from the loading list in 301st Bomb Group records.

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