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Home Town Not Specified
Last Address El Cajon, California
Date of Passing Jun 05, 1966
Location of Interment Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - San Diego, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates Setion X Site 1351
Last Known Activity Almost nothing is known about his military career, except for his most famous flight, which was when he and Lt. John A. Macready flew the 1st non-stop cross-country flight.
He won the prestiguous Mackay Trophy 2 years in a row in 1922 and 1923, both times with Lt. Macready.
He served in the USAF and 5 of its 6 predecessors!
(In lower photo, he is on the right, Macready is on the left.)
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to First Lieutenant (Air Service) Oakley G. Kelly, U.S. Army Air Service, for extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Lieutenant Kelly, with First Lieutenant John A. MaCready, departed from Michel Field, Long Island, New York at 12:36 p.m. on 2 May 1923 in the Army transport Airplane T-2, on a nonstop transcontinental flight. They encountered practically every hazard of flying and displayed remarkable ingenuity, skill, and perseverance in over coming the many handicaps imposed upon them by the elements and the mechanical equipment used by them. They arrived at Rockwell Field, Coronado, California. At 12:26 p.m. on 3 May 1923, thus successfully completing the first transcontinental nonstop flight in the history of aviation.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 4 (1928)
The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the military aviation arm of the United States of America between 1926 and 1941. The statutory administrative forerunner of the United States Air Force, it was renamed from the earlier United States Army Air Service on 2 July 1926 and part of the larger United States Army. The Air Corps was the immediate predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), established on 20 June 1941. Although discontinued as an administrative echelon during World War II, the Air Corps (AC) remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation establishing the Department of the Air Force.
The Air Corps was renamed by the United States Congress largely as a compromise between the advocates of a separate air arm and those of the traditionalist Army high command who viewed the aviation arm as an auxiliary branch to support the ground forces. Although its members worked to promote the concept of air power and an autonomous air force between the years between the world wars, its primary purpose by Army policy remained support of ground forces rather than independent operations.
On 1 March 1935, still struggling with the issue of a separate air arm, the Army activated the General Headquarters Air Force for centralized control of aviation combat units within the continental United States, separate from but coordinate with the Air Corps. The separation of the Air Corps from control of its combat units caused problems of unity of command that became more acute as the Air Corps enlarged in preparation for World War II. This was resolved by the creation of the Army Air Forces (AAF), making both organizations subordinate to the new higher echelon.
The Air Corps ceased to have an administrative structure after 9 March 1942, but as "the permanent statutory organization of the air arm, and the principal component of the Army Air Forces," the overwhelming majority of personnel assigned to the AAF were members of the Air Corps.