J. Keller was killed on 7 June 1944 and
buried in Normandy 9 June 1944 at the
82nd Cemetery Plot A-06-266.
The 82nd Cemetery was
re-designated as the Blosville Cemetery 15
June 1944. Captain Keller was re-buried in
Plot Number B-04-067 just a few hundred
yards away from his first burial at the 82nd
Cemetery. Captain Keller was buried 5
Keller was the Company Commander of Hq Co 2nd
Bn of the 507th Prcht Inf.
On 22 March 1944 the 507th Prcht
Inf had a practice jump. The 507th
Prcht Inf jumped over Welds Farm in
On that jump Captain Keller and 6 enlisted
men from Hq Co 2nd Bn were
hurt on the jump. Captain Keller was
transported to the 30th General
in the Hospital at the 30th
Captain Keller was relieved of Command and
sent to Hq & Hq Co of the
507th Prcht on 29 March 1944.
That was an unusual move when a Battalion
Company Commander is relieved of his Command
that close to an Invasion.
Captain Keller came back to the Regiment 3
April 1944 and joined Hq & Hq Co. On 7
April he was given his new assignment.
Captain Keller was listed as the Prison
Officer and Utility Officer. The prison
Officer oversaw offenses’ such as A.W.O.L.
(Absent with out Leave) and Articles of War
such as Dereliction of Duty, Drunk and
Officer designation really meant he did not
have a job. Captain Keller was S.D.
(Special Detachment) with Regimental S-4
Section as the Mess Officer. Keller was parked
there until another job opened up. When
Captain Keller was relieved as the Company
Commander by Lieutenant
Colonel Timmes Hq Co 2nd Bn
earlier this was a very unusually decision.
The Company Commander of Co C of the 507th
Prcht Inf was Captain James F. Riecken.
Captain Riecken went into the 30th
General Hospital and the X. O. (Executive
Officer) temporarily took command of Co C.
When it became apparent that Captain Riecken,
was unable to function as Company Commander
on 6 May 1944 Captain Sanford came in as a
difference between Captain Riecken and
Captain Keller was Captain Riecken, was
still carried on the Morning Reports as a
Captain Commander, but in the Hospital.
Keller while still in the Hospital was
not only relieved as Company Commander, but
sent to a different Company.
Riecken even came back to the Company 28
May 1944 but was not able to go into
Normandy due to his health issues. In fact
in the middle of June 1944 he was S. D.
to Service Company. Captain Riechen led
Company C in battle January 1945 in the
Keller was relieved of Duty as the Commander
not for health reasons as he was assigned to
S-4 Section in Hq & Hq Co and jumped
into Normandy. To be relieved
in such an abrupt way shows a difference of
opinion between Lieutenant Colonel Timmes
and Captain Keller on the practice jump 22
March 1944. Captain Keller had been the Hq
Co 2nd Bn Commander in the States
When the 507th
Prcht Inf went into the Sausage (a euphemism
for the size and shape of the Airfield there
were behind barbed wire leading up to the
Jump) Captain Keller ended up in plane #
of Serial 26 Chalk #2 based in Fulbeck. The
First Battalion and Hq & Hq Co flew from
Keller the Hq & Hq Co Mess Officer was the
last man out. The soldiers in front of him
were Technical Sergeant (Mess Sergeant) Fred
L. Ratliff and Cook Private First Class
Alvin W. Smith. 18 Men jumped from this
plane and Captain Keller was the only one
killed in Normandy.
A video was discovered
that shows Captain Keller and other soldiers
from their plane loading their gear. There
are also 2 still photos showing Captain
Photo 1 and
On 7 June
1944 Captain Keller was riding down a road
on a German bicycle when an 88 came down
on top of him killing him instantly.
body was moved to the
82nd Cemetery where he was buried
on 9 June 1944.
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