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|30k||Robert Franklin Keller was born to Mr. and Mrs. Peter S. Keller, in Denver, Colo., on 16 January 1918. After graduating from Colorado Springs High School, he attended Wichita
University in Kansas, where he was prominent in campus activities. A member of the varsity tennis team, he was editor-in-chief of the college yearbook Parnassus, served on the
staff of The Sunflower, the college newpaper, and during his senior year was president of the Pi Alpha Pi fraternity. After college he worked for the The Wichita Eagle
as state editor and assistant telegraph editor of The Morning Eagle. His interest in flying pre-dated the war years and he took lessons at Fairfax Field in Kansas City.
He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as seaman second class at Kansas City, Kans. on 14 February 1941, and was appointed Aviation Cadet on 15 May 1941. He was commissioned ensign, USNR, on 10 October 1941. Following training in Kansas, Florida, Texas, and California, he reported to Patrol Squadron 43 on 15 February 1942. He earned the Air Medal as second pilot of a patrol plane in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Aleutian Islands Campaign on 10 June to 20 June 1942. "Braving severe Alaskan weather and with a low ceiling forcing his plane to fly through clouds to carry out its attack mission against Japanese ships in Kiska Harbor, Ensign Keller skillfully assisted in determined dive-bombing and strafing attacks. Pulling out in the clear at a very low altitude, his plane was subjected to withering antiaircraft fire from enemy ship and shore batteries and pierced by shrapnel and lighter caliber projectiles" on 14 June 1942, and failed to return from the mission.
In 2001, a wild-life biologist came upon plane crash wreckage on the remote Aleutian island of Kiska. After the discovery of the crash site, military recovery teams began efforts to bring back the crew of seven. Identified by a medal with his initials engraved on it, Ens. Robert F. Keller was laid to rest in the Fort Logan National Cemetery, at Denver, Colo. on 21 June 2006.
USS Robert F. Keller (DE 419) (1944-1965) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo from The Wichita Eagle, Wichita, Kansas (Sunday, 20 Februarry 1944)
03 January 1945: A five view series of USS Robert F. Keller (DE 419), seen wearing camouflage measure 32/22D, making her approach and
then colliding with USS Sargent Bay (CVE 83). In photos 1 and 2 she's making her approach. Photos 3 and 4 show her up against Sargent Bay's
starboard quarter, and in scene 5 she's pulling away. Fortunately she doesn't look too much worse for the wear after the collision.
(U.S. Navy Photos: 1.) #80-G-263931, 2.) #80-G-263931, 3.) #80-G-338828, 4.) #80-G-338819, and 5.) #80-G-338823, from the United States National Archives)
(All photos courtesy of C. Lee Johnson, from his web site, Ships of the U.S. Navy in WWII Dazzle Camouflage.)
1.) 0641903 2.) 0641904 3.) 0641913 4.) 0641914 5.) 0641914
SOG3, 4/54 - 8/55
Port Angeles, Wash.
|427k||30 May 1948: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - USS Robert F. Keller (DE 419) passing under Lions Gate Bridge.
(Photograph by Walter E. Frost) (Photo #AM1506-S3-3-: CVA 447-8708 from the City of Vancouver Archives)
Port Angeles, Wash.
|235k||undated postwar image
(improved copy of photo submitted by Mike Smolinski, Clifton, N.J.; Manager, Navsource DE / FF / LCS Archive)
SOG3, 4/54 - 8/55
|245k||circa early 1950's: at Portsmouth, England|
(improved copy of photo submitted by David Wright, Geneva, N.Y.; Manager, Navsource Destroyer Archive Yard / District Craft Archive)
|84k||March 1954: aboard USS Robert F. Keller - HMC Robert S.V. Hull compounds medicine in the sick bay of the ship.
(U.S. Navy Photo #80-G-636581 from the National Archives)
|71k||circa 1954-55: at sea||Bob Donlon|
SOG3, 4/54 - 8/55
|46k||circa 1954-55: at sea|
|129k||circa 1954-55: underway off the U.S. Naval Gun Factory, Washington, D.C.|
|272k||1962: location unknown - Robert F. Keller at sea.
(U.S. Navy Photo)
England, United Kingdom
|310k||12 May 1962: The Atlantic Ocean - Robert F. Keller (DE 419) cruising in a line abreast formation with USS
Thaddeus Parker (DE 369) and USS Albert T. Harris (DE 447).|
(U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 95914 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
|368k||undated: Philadelphia, Pa. - ex-Robert F. Keller (DE 419) laid up in the Inactive Ship Basin of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard awaiting disposal.||Nick Tiberio|
|Robert F. Keller History|
|View the USS Robert F. Keller (DE 419) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
|View the official War History, (Version 1), of USS Robert F. Keller as submitted by the ship at war's end.|
|View the official War History, (Version 2), of USS Robert F. Keller as submitted by the ship at war's end.|
|View the Robert F. Keller Supplemental History from Bob Donlon.|
|Robert F. Keller's Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
|Dates of Command||Commanding Officers|
|1.) 17 Jun. 1944 08 May 1945||Lcdr. Raymond John Toner, USNR (Comm. CO) (Chicago, Ill.)|
|2.) 08 May 1945 .. Jan. 1946||Lcdr. George Q. Thorndike, USNR|
|3.) .. Jan. 1946 24 Apr. 1946||Lcdr. Benjamin Hill Stough Jr., USN (Decomm. CO)|
|4.) 31 Mar. 1950 .. Apr. 1950||Cmdr. Hugh Howard Lewis, USN (Recomm. CO) (USNA 35)|
|5.) .. Apr. 1950 21 Jul. 1952||Lcdr. Charles Edward Napier, USN (Indianapolis, Ind.)|
|6.) 21 Jul. 1952 04 Jan. 1954||Lcdr. Adrian Vincent Lorentson, USN (Thief River Falls, Minn.)|
|7.) 04 Jan. 1954 28 Mar. 1956||Lcdr. Louis Eugene Voorhees, USN (Merced, Cal.)|
|8.) 28 Mar. 1956 28 Oct. 1957||Lcdr. Allen Wayne Slifer, USN (Mt. Carroll,Ill.)|
|9.) 28 Oct. 1957 21 Sep. 1959||Lcdr. Edward Junior Steffen, USN (Milwaukee, Wis.)|
|10.) 21 Sep. 1959 20 Jun. 1960||Lt. William Harold Bartlett, USN (OinC) (enl. '41) (Cumberland, Md.)|
|11.) 20 Jun. 1960 02 Oct. 1961||Lt. Frederick Harold Elliott, USN (OinC)|
|12.) 02 Oct. 1961 01 Aug. 1962||Lcdr. Charles William Jones, USNR|
|13.) 01 Aug. 1962 20 Sep. 1962||Lt. John Henry Hausmann, USNR (OinC) (Pottstown, Pa.)|
|14.) 20 Sep. 1962 05 May 1964||Lt. Richard Harold Smith, USN (OinC)|
|15.) 05 May 1964 14 Jan. 1965||Lt. Griffith Joel Winthrop, USN (OinC) (Decomm. CO)|
Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.
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Page Last Updated: 11 February 2023