Isely, Robert Henry, CDR

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1944, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-16)
Service Years
1933 - 1944
Commander
Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

18 kb

Home State
Kansas
Kansas
Year of Birth
1909
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sheila Rae Myers, HM3 to remember Isely, Robert Henry, CDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Cimarron, KS
Last Address
Dodge City, KS

Casualty Date
Jun 13, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Saipan
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Court 3 (cenotaph)

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenThe National Gold Star Family RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial WW II Memorial National Registry
  1944, World War II Fallen
  2018, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2018, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2018, WW II Memorial National Registry

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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 
 Duty Stations
US NavyNAS PensacolaNAVSTA Norfolk, VAVT-3 Torpedo Squadron Three
USS Lexington (CV-16)
  1934-1937, USS Chester (CA-27)
  1937-1937, NAS Pensacola
  1937-1940, NAVSTA Norfolk, VA
  1940-1940, VT-3 Torpedo Squadron Three
  1940-1942, NAS Pensacola
  1943-1944, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-16)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 Gilbert Islands Operation/Battle of Tarawa
  1943-1943 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Marshall Islands Operation
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Saipan
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Saipan
  1944-1944 Marshall Islands Operation (1944)/Battle of Kwajalein Atoll (Operation Flintlock)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1929-1933, United States Naval Academy1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Robert Henry Isely was born on Christmas Day 1909 in Cimarron, Kansas, and attended public schools in Dodge City, Kansas. In 1929, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and was graduated from that institution in 1933.

For the next four years, Lieutenant Isely served aboard various Naval war ships in the Pacific, Atlantic and Carribean areas. In 1937, he underwent aviation training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and was designated a naval aviator in December of that same year.

By late 1943, Robert H. Isely had been promoted to the rank of Commander and was designated Commanding Officer of VT-16 (Torpedo Squadron), aboard the Carrier U.S.S. Lexington which was a part of Task Force 58. Over the next ten months, VT-16 carried out bombing raids against Japanese facilities at Tarawa, Wake, Kwajalein, Mille, Palau Truk and Hollandia. On June 13, 1944, Commander Isely led his squadron on a pre-invasion bombing attack against the Japanese airbase at Aslito on Saipan. While carrying out a low altitude bombing run, Commander Isely's TBF Avenger was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and crashed in flames at the south edge of the runway.

In recognition of his supreme sacrifice, Commander Isely was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Navy Cross. Following the capture of Saipan by U.S. forces, the former Japanese airbase at Aslito was renamed Isely Field in his honor. On June 13, 1994, 50 years after his crash, a Commemorative Plaque for Commander Robert H. Isely was dedicated at Saipan International Airport.

In 1985, the National Park Service designated Isely Field as a National Historic Landmark.


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Comments/Citation

Service number: 073652

Distinguished Flying Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander [then Lieutenant Commander] Robert H. Isely (NSN: 0-73652), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while leading his Torpedo Plane Squadron in four assaults against Palau on 30 - 31 March 1944. Commander Isely skillfully directed the laying of mine fields which completely blocked the main channel to Pauau Harbor. His squadron seriously damaged several enemy vessels by rocket and bombing attacks and destroyed six important Japanese ships in the face of severe anti-aircraft fire.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 333 (December 1944)
Action Date: March 30 - 31, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Torpedo Squadron

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