Whitney Cummings Keys was born in King City, Missouri, on August 20, 1920. While attending Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas, the 20-year-old enlisted the Naval Reserve on July 11, 1941, several months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He went on to train at several stateside locations to include Kansas City, Kansas and Jacksonville, Florida, and earned his aviation wings in March 1942.
The officer served in Alaska beginning in July 1942 and three months later was sent to the South Pacific. He was assigned to the USS Saratoga and participated in a number of naval engagements, which included the Battle of Guadalcanal. Sadly, Keys died May 30, 1943 from injuries sustained in a plane crash after only 22 months in the service.
The remains of the Missouri veteran were returned to the United States in 1947 and interred in Cavalry Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Jeremy P. Amick is a military historian and author dedicated to preserving our nation's military legacies.