Skip to main content
Edit entry 

James Carlin McKeown

Military

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1915, James Carlin McKeown enlisted as an aviation cadet in Chicago in January 1942. He trained as a pilot and was assigned to the 491st Bombardment Group, 853rd Bombardment Squadron. Assigned a new B-24J (44-40200), he named the aircraft the Delirious Dolores after his wife Delores Theobold McKeown. The McKeown crew arrived at Metfield with the initial group of aircraft and flew the unit's first combat mission on 2 June 1944.
15 June 1944: "Both 1st Lt. James C. McKeown and his B-24 were seriously mauled by flak on the same mission. McKeown, badly hit in the ankles and groin and bleeding profusely, was laid out on the flight deck and given what aid the crew could accomplish, including several injections of morphine, while the co-pilot, Lt. Bob McIntyre, took over and brought the Liberator home on three engines. Arriving over the base, McIntyre found he would have to land the crippled aircraft in a strong cross wind -- something he had never done before. The first pass was unsuccessful -- at which point McKeown got up off the floor and, in spite of a serious loss of blood and the intense pain in his ankles brought about by the strong rudder pedal pressures required, landed the plane safely. McIntyre claimed later that his pilot couldn't wait to get down to collect his Purple Heart while McKeown (who was actually awarded the Silver Star) claimed he was afraid if they stayed airborne any longer the crew would give him more morphine -- and, according to Mac, a needle in the hands of a nervous gunner was as bad as the flak."

Facing criticism from higher ups about modest to poor bombing results, the St. Cyr mission was personally lead by CO Lt. Col. Carl Goldenberg. "The lead plane for the 491st consisted of a replacement crew with missions under their belt with another group. The lead plane was piloted by Schwensen; McKeown would be flying right wing and Stokley would be on the left wing of the lead plane. The route into the target area had been flown as briefed, reasonably free of flak and no enemy aircraft encountered. We were approaching the target for bombs away when I heard the Bombardier tell 'Goldie' that his bomb sight was froze up. 'OK,'" Goldie responded, "'let's go around and try again.' We turned off the bombing run and started a big 360 turn. On the ground the troops did their homework, having gone to school on our first run into the target. They learned well as the flak became much heavier and accurate as we neared completion of our turn back to the target. McKeown was told to move up into the lead position. As we leveled out from the turn, the exchange to the lead plane was accomplished between McKeown and Schwensen. We were now well into our second run on the target with McKeown in the lead. He couldn't have been in the lead position very long when he took a heavy burst of flak and faltered. Stokley on his left wing was also clobbered at about the same time. 'Goldie's' luck had run out and we were force to turn for home" 2nd Lt. John Crowe

Ringmasters: 491st Bombardment Group (H) (1992).

Service

Units served with

  • 491st Bomb Group

    491st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 491st Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators in bombing missions over northern France and Germany from June 1944 until April 1945. Missions over Germany included bombing the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen. The Group was awarded a DUC...

  • 853rd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

  • 414

    15 June 1944

Associated Place

  • Metfield

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1942-43 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, Metfield had three concrete runways, 39 pan plus 15 loop hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. It was first occupied by the 353rd Fighter Group, equipped with P-47s, from August 1943 to...

Events

Event Location Date
Enlisted Chicago, Illinois 21 January 1942

Enlisted as an aviation cadet.

Buried West Palm Beach, Florida

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 June 2019 18:51:46 Timothy McKeown Changes to mission associations
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
16 June 2019 18:42:11 Timothy McKeown Changes to biography
Sources

Ringmasters: 491st Bombardment Group (H) (1992).

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2018 13:10:34 Timothy McKeown Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2015 20:02:01 Timothy McKeown Changes to biography
Sources

C. Timothy Mckeown

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2015 00:38:22 Timothy McKeown Changes to biography, events and place associations
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2015 21:11:47 Timothy McKeown Changes to nickname
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2015 19:57:33 Timothy McKeown Changes to media associations
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
05 March 2015 19:54:45 Timothy McKeown Changes to media associations
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 03:12:08 Timothy McKeown Changes to media associations
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown

Date Contributor Update
02 March 2015 22:41:39 Timothy McKeown Changes to biography
Sources

The Ringmasters: 491st Bombardment Group (H) (1992)

Date Contributor Update
02 March 2015 20:28:09 Timothy McKeown Changes to biography and awards
Sources

Ringmasters: 491st Bombardment Group (H) (1992)

Date Contributor Update
02 March 2015 20:11:23 Timothy McKeown Changes to middlename and awards
Sources

C. Timothy McKeown (son)

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:14:12 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

491st BG Roster / son/ http://www.491st.org/491hist2.html / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Share