General Benjamin Kelsey Scrapbooks

Benjamin Scovill "Ben" Kelsey (1906-1981) completed instruction at the Curtiss Flying School in Garden City, New York in 1921 at the age of fifteen. He flew extensively, both commercially and privately, before being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army Air Corps in 1929. Kelsey was initially assigned to Mitchel Field, New York where he worked with the Guggenheim Fog Flying Laboratory. In 1934, Kelsey was transferred to the Materiel Command at Wright Field, Ohio where he served as fighter project officer in the Engineering Section and worked on blind landing and instrument flying development. Kelsey served as assistant military attaché for air in London, United Kingdom for a short time in 1940 and then returned to Wright Field as chief of the Pursuit Branch, Production Engineering Section. In 1942, Kelsey was attached to the Eighth Fighter Command at Dow Field, Maine during which time he served as a Lockheed P-38 Lightning pilot as part of Operation Bolero, the movement of U. S. forces across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom in preparation for the opening of a "second front" in northwest Europe that involved a group of P-38 aircraft following a B-17 Flying Fortress pathfinder aircraft across the North Atlantic. In September 1942, Kelsey returned to Wright Field and in 1943 was named chief of the Flight Research Branch, Flight Test Division. Later that year, Kelsey returned to the United Kingdom as the deputy chief of staff of the Ninth Fighter Command and in 1944 was appointed chief of the Operation Engineering Section of the Eighth Air Force Headquarters. In July 1945, Kelsey again returned to Wright Field and was named chief of the All-Weather Operations Section. In December 1946, Kelsey served as assistant deputy commanding general for personnel at Wright Field moving up to be the chief of personnel and administration before leaving for Air Force Headquarters in early 1948 where he served as chief of the Control Group in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel. Kelsey entered the National War College in August 1948, graduating in June 1949, and then staying on as an instructor. Kelsey was appointed Deputy Director of Research and Development in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Development at Air Force Headquarters until retiring from active duty in December 1955. Kelsey was the recipient of numerous awards and honors and was involved in the development of, and/or test flew, numerous aircraft including the Bell XFM-1 Airacuda, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-36A Hawk, and Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Kelsey was also a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holding a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering (1928) and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering (1931).