1/Lt. John E. Kester

(F. Birtciel)

1/Lt. John E. Kester

338th FS - 02 August 1944 - 26 August 1944 (Missing in Action - Evaded)
08 October 1944 - 14 January 1945 (Killed in Action)

Assigned Aircraft

P-51D, 44-14305
P-51D "Mustang"

Mission History

Not Known

Mission List
55th FG Mission # Date Target
220 26 August 1944 Ranger Rodeo Nancy-Dijon
262 02 November 1944 Merseberg
306 14 January 1945 Magdeburg
Air Scores
Ground Scores
Score Detail 02 November 1944  FW-190 destroyed (air) W/Leipzig
Notes From New York
ASN - O-824644
02 August 1944 - Joined the 338th Fighter Squadron
Lt. Kester was downed twice, the first on August 26th, 1944, when he and Lt. Gevorkian bellied in south western France and evaded through Spain with the aid of the French Resistance.
Gevorkian and Kester's story
(Reproduced with the kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield, from the author's book, Double Nickel, Double Trouble.

The second occasion, was on 14 January 1945.
MACR No. 11855
Major Darrell S. Cramer reported: "I was leading Acorn Yellow section in which Lt. Kester was flying Yellow 3 on an escort mission to Stendal, Germany.  We had completed a bounce on Parchin Airdrome, where some Me-262s were taking off and were sweeping on out when a train was sighted.  We went down and destroyed the locomotive and were about 1,500 feet when we came upon a broad open field where there were three Me-110s parked.  We immediately dove down and started firing at them.  I secured strikes on one with my first shells and then as I pulled up my aim went high.  As I finished firing I saw men further ahead running towards gun pits, and a red flare was shot into the air and light flak began exploding all around us, the heaviest concentration I had ever seen.  We all hugged the deck and turned 90 degrees right and still the flak followed us.  Lt. Kester called me and said he was hit and I could see him streaming coolant.  We were still in a flak nest so I told him to get some altitude as soon as we were clear so he could bail out.
When we got clear, after about two minutes, I started an orbit and called Lt. Kester.  He said he was trying to nurse it home.  Then he called right after and said he would have to bail out, and I could get no more acknowledgement from him.  At that time I was 4,000 feet".
Lt. Kester was flying, "Saturday Night", the Konantz brother's airplane.  He is buried in New York.

(Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author's book Double Nickel - Double Trouble).

08 October 1944 - Returned to Active Duty with the 338th Fighter Squadron
15 November 1944 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
13 December 1944 - Awarded 1st Oak Leaf Cluster to Air Medal
17 December 1944 - Awarded 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster to Air Medal
14 January 1945 - Reported as Missing in Action

Additional Photograph Lt. John E. Kester (Robert M. Littlefield)
Lt. Kester in France following his belly landing on the beach. Nb. Kester is to the left of the man in shorts. (Robert M. Littlefield)
L-R) Kester and Gevorkian, looking dejected having landed their P-51Ds on the beach at Cap Ferret.  With them is Prince Stanislas Poniatowski of the F.F.I.) (Robert M. Littlefield)
Nb. Photos open in new window.  Close window to return to this page.

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