DEDICATED TO 340th BG 487th BS

B-25 Armorer-Gunner

Staff Sergeant James Earl Kelley


[WWII  European Theater Corsica Italy 1944]


Submissions of J.E. Kelley’s material from his daughter Joan Kelley Pariso

Site edited and maintained by Doug Cook


Last Update March 26, 2010






Thoughts, memories, feelings, and questions

from his daughter Joan Kelley Pariso


487th Black Knights



       Air Medal front.jpg  AIR MEDAL


The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, shall have distinguished himself/herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or heroism, or for meritorious service.








Training photo


Document courtesy David Konigsberg


The orders above sent S/Sgt  James E. Kelley to Camp Patrick Henry, Va to be dispatched overseas with his named B-25 crew. In Newport News they boarded a ship and cruised through rough seas  for nine days.  They landed at Casablanca in North Africa.  After a few days at Casablanca they were flown to a replacement depot in Tunisia.


From there they were assigned to the 57th Bomb Wing- 340th Bomb Group 487th Bomb Squadron at Guado (Paestem) Italy. The airbase had been at Pompeii but Mount Vesuvius erupted ruining the field and all the planes.  They received new planes from the replacement depot in Africa and moved in with another group at Paestem. They relocated to Alesan Airbase in Corsica in May, 1944. The Airbase was severely bombed by German planes on May 13, 1944.  They quickly regrouped and resupplied.

From Alesan, they launched missions to cut off transportation and push the Nazi troops north out of Italy.

Of S/Sgt James E. Kelley’s original crew above

Pilot 2nd Lt Donovan W. Hurlbut    WI   apparently survived.


Copilot 2nd Lt Robert F. Rushton   MI   MACR (Missing air crew report)


Bombardier 2nd Lt Gordon E. Butterfield (Cornell alumnus)  MACR (Missing air crew report)


 Rear Gunner T/Sgt  Charles L. Fritch (age 20) NY  wounded in action over Italy.

Originally crews were assigned to a specific plane.  James Kelley was assigned to “Bitch-N-Mitch”.  

The plane is a ‘B-25 Mitchell’ named for Gen. Billy Mitchell, the father of the Army Air Corps.

Later in 1944 crews were mixed and assigned to planes ad hoc.

J.E. Kelley’s (front center) time worn crew photo.

Same photo above from Capt. James Littlefield’s collection.

 Rt. to Lt. Front:  Whalen, J.E. Kelley, Williams

Rear: Kline, Kenyon, & Littlefield.


J.E. Kelley second from left

340th BG 487th BS - SN 43-27541 - 7B “BITCH N MITCH”

J.E. Kelley kneeling far left



340th BG 487th BS - SN 42-53483 - 7M


 (Shot down Feb. 13, 1944)