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Kenneth J. Murphy
USAAF, 5th Air Force, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron
F-5 Lightning Pilot Missing In Action (MIA)

Background
Kenneth J. Murphy was born in 1915 in Rensselaer, Rensselaer County New York. In 1941, he resided at 1401 Second Street in Rensselaer, NY. Before he enlisted, he had completed two years of college, worked as a clerk or office worker and was single. On October 31, 1941 Murphy enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet with Army serial number 12034936.

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Wartime History
After completing flight training he earned his wings was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with Army serial number O-660663. He was sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS) based at at 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby. He began flying F-4 Lighting and F-5 Lightning on photographic reconnaissance missions over Japanese targets and bases.

For his role flying missions, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for heroism in aerial action over Japanese bases in the Southwest Pacific. The citation by Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney commander of Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific read: "entailed hazardous trips, frequently through adverse weather. During this period there was a shortage of fliers and Lt. Murphy, realizing the necessity for photographs of these areas and knowing the dangerous nature of the missions, willingly consented to make the flights. His courage, ability and unselfish devotion to duty are worthy of the highest commendation."

Mission History
On June 26, 1943 took off piloting F-5A "Hellapoppin Hepcat" 41-2137 from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby on a reconnaissance mission over Rabaul. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
Murphy was officially declared dead on December 18, 1945. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Relatives
John Clark Murphy (father)
Alberta Irene (née Witbeck) Murphy (mother)
John F. Murphy, Jr (brother)
Frank R. Murphy (brother passed away May 23, 1953)

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Kenneth J. Murphy
Albany Times-Union "11 Area Youths Sign Up Today For Air Corps" October 31, 1941 page 3
"Others who will be enlisted today are Kenneth J. Murphy of 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
The Knickerbocker News "Aviation Cadets" October 31, 1941 (photo)
"Aviation Cadets who left Albany today to join a new pilot training class at Sikeston, Missouri, are: left to right front row John Mancini, Ballston Lake.... Standing left to right... Kenneth J. Murphy, Rensselaer."
Albany Times-Union "Are Awarded 'Wings' " May 17, 1942
"Eight Albany area men are among the 78 throughout the state who are being graduated with "wings" from the Gulf Coast Air Corps training Center, Randolph Field, Texas and affiliated air fields of the government... Rensselaer; Lieut. Kenneth J. Murphy, 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
Times Union "DFC Awarded To Lt. Murphy Of Rensselaer" October 2, 1943 page 1
"Heroism in Flights Over Jap Bases Cited by Chief: Lt. Kenneth J. Murphy, of 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer, Army Air Force pilot, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in aerial action over Jap held bases in the Southwest Pacific... The flights, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney commander of Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific area said, "entailed hazardous trips, frequently through adverse weather. During this period there was a shortage of fliers and Lt. Murphy, realizing the necessity for photographs of these areas and knowing the dangerous nature of the missions, willingly consented to make the flights. His courage, ability and unselfish devotion to duty are worthy of the highest commendation."
Lt. Murphy, 24, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Murphy. He graduated from Van Nesselaer High School and enlisted in the Army Air Force while attending Duke University. He held held vacation positions prior to enlistment, with the APW company and New York State."
Troy Record "Three Area Servicemen Missing" July 15, 1943
"The Rensselaer man is First Lieut. Kenneth J. Murphy whose mother Mrs. John C. Murphy lives at 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
The Times Record "War Department Lists Area Men Missing In Action" July 15, 1943 page 9
"The Rensselaer man is First Lieut. Kenneth J. Murphy whose mother Mrs. John C. Murphy lives at 1401 Second Street, Rensselaer."
The Eight Ballers - Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker pages 50 (photo), 160 (losses in action)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Kenneth J. Murphy
FindAGrave - 1Lt Kenneth J Murphy (tablets of the missing)
Ancestry - Kenneth J Murphy
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Michael McAlonie for additional research



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