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

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Mckelvy, Robert, Jr.


Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Serial Number: O-663398
Military Branch: 515th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group
Origin: Kansas
Date of Death: 1943-7-11
unknown
Featured: No

Robert I. Mckelvy Jr. was born in 1921 to his parents Robert and Edna in Missouri. By 1940 the family lived in Wyandotte, Kansas. Robert was the oldest of 3 children. Robert enlisted as an aviation cadet on December 15, 1941 at Fort Levenworth, Kansas.

1st Lt. Robert I.Mckelvy, Jr. was the Navigator for a B24 based at an airfield known as Berca 2. His plane was shot down by German fighters on the return from a bomb run to Catania, Sicily. Nine of the ten crew members were killed as a result of the action. When the plane was shot down, it was over the Mediterranean Sea. About six of the crew bailed out, but then the plane blew up. At least 3 people were on the plane when it blew up, including the pilot, 1st. Lt. Wayne Field, and co-pilot. The co-pilot 2nd Lt. Lawrence O'Brien was the only survivor who was picked up on July 11, 1943, by a British Torpedo Boat, 3 days after the shoot down. The July 11 date was chosen by the upper echelon as the official date of death of the crew. Missing Air Crew Report #43 describes the circumstances of the loss.

The B24, air craft number 42-40321 was named "Butch". Pictures of crew and the plane are part of this group as well as MACR #43 and National Archives records. Mckelvy's group also includes his officially engraved posthumous Purple Heart, ribbon bar, lapel pin, and presentation box, his officially engraved Air Medal with palm and his engraved sterling ID bracelet.

This group is part of a group of 3 KIA Purple Heart groups to the crew of Butch. Accompanying groups are for the Ball Turret gunner SSGT William Cunningham, and Bomadier1st. Lt. Robert F. McMullen.