BIOGRAPHY: Our father was a 1938 graduate of Moorefield High School, Moorefield, WV. He worked as a sales manager for Thomas Chevrolet from June 1939-March 1940. From June 1941-December 1941 he sold tobacco products for Brown-Williamson Tobacco Corporation of Louisville, Kentucky. He attended Tennessee Weslyan College, Athens, Tennessee for 1 1/2 years. He was the son of Robert Sherrard & Mary Hale (McNeill) Kuykendall.
MILITARY HISTORY: On January 23, 1942 he was inducted as an Aviation Cadet at Ft Hayes, Columbus, Ohio. He was 23 years old. May 1942, for 3 months he received his Army Air Force Technical Training and weather observer course at Chanute Field, Illinois. On July 7, 1942 the cadets were transported by rail to Kelly Field, Texas. He was then sent to San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center In September 1942 for 1 1/4 months for the pre-flight training course. In November 1942, for 2 months, he was with the flight training detachment in Vernon, Texas for primary flying training. For 2 months beginning January 1943 he was given his basic flying training at the flying school in Waco, Texas In March 1943, he received his advanced flying training at Ellington Field, Texas .He was then sent to Greenville, South Carolina for the B-25 transition training and departed on December 24, 1943 for Europe arriving on January 3, 1944.
During World War II he was a member of the 57th Bomb Wing, 12 th Air Force, 321st Squadron, 448th Bomb Group as a B-25 Mitchell pilot. Stationed in Italy and on the Isle of Corsica. He piloted B-25 aircraft and commanded a crew in the accomplishment of offensive missions against the enemy; ascertained prior to mission, that aircraft had been properly inspected by crew members; took off, operated and landed airplane under varying flying conditions and such hazards as adverse weather, enemy attack, and low altitude and night flying; maintained flight records and reported observations made; flew 55 combat missions over Italy and France; served 7 missions as co-pilot, 48 missions as 1st Pilot; served concurrently as Flight Test Maintenance Officer testing B-25 aircraft after major overhauling and advised commanding officer on results of inspections.
MISSING AIR CREW REPORT: On February 19, 1944, Lt. James W. Kuykendall as co-pilot of plane #42-64550 with Lieutenant Annear as pilot, after dropping their bombs and while attempting to avoid a collision, Lt. Annear banked the ship to the left and at this instant they were attacked by an enemy fighter. The fire from the enemy cut the hydraulic system which allowed the wheels to drop from the engine. The enemy fighter then made a second attack and succeeded in disabling the left engine and in cutting the trim cables. This attack also caused the destruction of all instruments and stunned Lt. Annear. When he regained consciousness, he ordered the crew to bail out. They turned south, over the sea, towards Anzio; but were unable to maintain altitude and were forced to make a crash landing in the sea. They were unable to see any signs of life from the rear compartment, nor received any replys. They succeeded in launching a life raft and boarded it shortly before the plane sank. Three of their planes circled back and dropped additional life rafts. They were rescued by an English crash boat and taken ashore to the beachhead.
MEDALS & AWARDS: Purple Heart - awarded on March 3, 1944; Promoted to 1st Lt. on April 28, 1944; Air Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Medal with 2 Bronze Battle Stars, American Theater Medal & World War II Victory Medal.
MARRIAGE: On August 24, 1946 in Hot Springs, Arkansas while a patient in the Army & Navy General Hospital, he married Geraldine Oleta ("Jerry") Doman of Romney, WV. They resided in Arkansas until November 6, 1946 when due to his physical disability he was discharged from the service. They returned to Moorefield, WV to raise two daughters, Judith Ann and Oleta Hale.He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and director of the Red Cross for Hardy County.
Because of his medical condition, dad was a patient on numerous ocassions at Newton D. Baker Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland and the Veterans Hospital in Martinsburg, West Virginia where he died on April 30, 1951 from complications of pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis. He is buried at Olivet Cemetery, Moorefield.