1st Lieut. Frederick Kennedy Plyley






Nov. 9, 1919 – Apr. 24, 1943

Vonore Meth. Cem., Monroe Co., Tn



Lieut. Frederick Kennedy Plyley, Vonore, first pilot of a Flying Fortress, who was reported missing since April 23, died in the European area on April 24, the War Department has notified his mother Mrs. Vivian K. Plyley.

Young Plyley is among the first Monroe County boys to give his life in defense of his home and his country.  He had been in service since Jan. 5, 1943, and during that period of military training won an award for proficiency.  While in the advanced phase of specialized bomber training he was flight commander of his group.

One the eve of his departure for the transatlantic flight his bomber was delayed by engine trouble, and a few nights later, it is learned, off the coast of Iceland, he encountered a storm described as being extreme in violence.

The commanding officer, Capt. Estes Griffin, was making the trip across in Lieut. Plyley’s ship and the co-pilot, Lieut. Raymond H. Bidwell, had gone ahead in another.  Other members of the crew aboard the Fortress were Lieut. James W. Courtwright, Nebraska, the bombardier; Lieut. Arthur Ciccarello, Boston, the navigator; Sgt. George Brown, Columbus, Ohio, engineer; Sgt. Arthur R. McKinley, South Bend, Ind., assistant engineer; Staff Sgt. Lowell A. Lindlow, Kansas City, radio operator; Sgt. Alfred F. Garretson, Oregon, assistant radio operator; Staff Sgt. Thomas J. O’Moore, Connecticut, arm gunner, and Sgt. Arthur E. Mahoney, Boston, tail gunner.

Among letters of sympathy from Army officials is one from Commanding General H.H. Arnold of the Army Air Forces to the young pilot’s mother, which reads:

“My dear Mrs. Plyley: With keen regret I have learned that your son, First Lieutenant Frederick Kennedy Plyley, previously reported missing, died April 24, 1943, while flying in the service of his country in the European Area.

“My attention has been called to the fine spirit of cooperation and the ability to adapt himself to any situation which characterized Lieutenant Plyley from the beginning of his military career.  He was a brave pilot and a loyal officer whose integrity and perseverance commanded the high regard of all associates, and we of the Army Air Forces feel that his passing represents a distinct loss to the service.  Mere words cannot compensate for the loss of your  son, but I hope time will temper your grief and that you will be consoled to some extent by the knowledge that he gave his utmost for the cause of our country.

“I offer my deepest sympathy to you and to other members of the family.”


Another clipping was a letter written by Lieut. Raymond H. Bidwell to the sister of Lieut. Plyley.


U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946


Frederick K Plyley

Birth Year:



White, Citizen (White)

Nativity State or Country:


State of Residence:


County or City:




Enlistment Date:

9 Jan 1942

Enlistment State:


Enlistment City:

Fort Oglethorpe


Air Corps

Branch Code:

Air Corps


Aviation Cadet

Grade Code:

Aviation Cadet

Term of Enlistment:

Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law


Army of the United States - includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of


Civil Life




2 years of college

Civil Occupation:

Stock clerks

Marital Status:

Single, without dependents







Flying Fortress



Researcher and Designer

Joy Locke & Joe Irons