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Highlighting the World Wars I & II Memorabilia Collection of Dave Sleeper

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Cravens, James A.


Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Serial Number: O-721985
Military Branch: 65th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group
Origin: Oklahoma
Date of Death: 1944-12-27
Park Grove Cemetery
Featured: No

James Albert Cravens was born in Oklahoma on September 20, 1922. His mother, May, became a widow when James' father John died December 29, 1926, from injuries received  in a gasoline plant explosion. At that time, John was 36 years old. John's wife, May, was 28 at the time; and as the 1930 census shows  worked as a telephone operator to support the family. 

James entered the service October 4, 1942. Cravens had at least 1 year of college when he entered the service. According to a letter from his mother in 1947, he was married shortly before his death, and his wife Marie remarried after his death. Second Lt. James Cravens was a P-47 pilot in the 65th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, in the European theater. He was killed when his plane "spun" into the ground shortly after mission takeoff from Grosseto air field in Italy on December 27, 1944.

In the crash, Lt. Cravens was burned beyond recogition. His remains were interred in the military cemetery, Plot L, Row 123, grave 1465, at Follonica, Italy. At his mother's request, he was disinterred October 1, 1948 and his remains were sent back to Wagoner, Oklahoma for burial. He was buried in the Park Grove Cemetery in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with his father.

A great pictoral website about the 65th can be found at: http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/orman.html

Lt. Cravens' group includes his officially engraved slot brooch posthumous Purple Heart, officially engraved posthumous Air Medal, Individual Deceased Personnel File, and a copy of the 65th Fighter Squadron December, 1944 outline history. Lt. Cravens crash is documented as follows: "Lt Cravens was killed shortly after take off when he was joining up in formation. His a/c spun in just south of the base." Also included is a photo of Cravens from the internet plus copies of other internet research, which was plentiful.