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KEESLER, SAMUEL Papers. 1896-1918

3.7 cu ft

Call No. 168.7567

Iris Nos. 011561159-011561162

(1896-1918). Second Lieutenant. Air Corps, 1917-1918. Born 11 April 1896, Greenwood, MS. B.A. Davidson College, 1917. Joined army May 1917. Commissioned 15 August, 1917 at Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. Received Aerial Observer and Gunnery Training at Ft. Sill, OK. Assigned to 24th Aero Squadron in August 1918 and served in Verdun sector of the Western Front. Critically injured on a reconnaissance mission over Verdun on 8 October, 1918. Four fighters attacked his plane, crippling it. Lt. Keesler fired on the planes as his own fell, shooting down one. He received six wounds while in the air and one from a strafing plane while on the ground. He died from his wounds 9 October 1918 at a German Field Hospital. Lt. Keesler posthumously received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. The Air Force named Keesler Air Force Base after him on August 25, 1941.

Four containers of personal papers relating to Keesler's childhood, college life, and military service, including personal correspondence of Samuel Keesler and his brother, William Keesler, 1906-1996. Box 1 contains correspondence from 1906-1917. Box 2 contains correspondence from 1918. Box 3 contains correspondence from 1919-1933, as well as one file titled Gold Star Mother's Pilgrimage, containing photographs, correspondence, and a ship newspaper from Mrs. S.R. Keesler's trip to view Samuel Keesler's gravesite in France. The remainder of the box is comprised of miscellaneous documents, including Samuel Keesler's salutatorian speech from Jefferson Davis High School in 1913, GHQ citation orders for gallantry in action, and various newspaper clippings. Box 4 includes photographs of Samuel Keesler and family, as well as correspondence, itineraries, speeches, press releases, and newspaper clippings from Keesler Air Force Bases's dedication of the Spirit of Keesler Center in 1978. 

To view the collection online, please select the following links:

Box 1a (PDF, 102 pages, 10.7 MB)
Box 1b (PDF, 104 pages, 11.4 MB)
Box 1c (PDF, 109 pages, 10.0 MB)

Box 2a (PDF, 168 pages, 15.3 MB)
Box 2b (PDF, 170 pages, 14.5 MB)
Box 2c (PDF, 171 pages, 15.6 MB)
Box 2d (PDF, 170 pages, 17.7 MB)
Box 2e (PDF, 152 pages, 15.1 MB)

Box 3a (PDF, 136 pages, 13.7 MB)
Box 3b (PDF, 139 pages, 15.1 MB)
Box 3c (PDF, 144 pages, 12.3 MB)
Box 3d (PDF, 150 pages, 12.3 MB)
Box 3e (PDF, 121 pages, 17.8 MB)

Box 4a (PDF, 162 pages, 18.4 MB)
Box 4b (PDF, 162 pages, 14.4 MB)
Box 4c (PDF, 159 pages, 16.8 MB)

NOTE: The PDF files are large and may take a while to download.  If you are having problems viewing the documents, right-click the link, select "Save Target As...", and save the document to your computer.