Field Kindley
Field Kindley
Field Eugene Kindley
  • Country: United States
  • Rank: Captain
  • Services: United States Air Service
  • Units: 65 (RAF) 148th Aero (USAS)
  • Victories: 12
  • Date Of Birth: March 13, 1896
  • Place of Birth: Pea Ridge, Arkansas
  • Date Of Death: February 1, 1920
  • Place of Death: Texas

Kindley joined the Kansas National Guard in May of 1917. Transferring to the U.S. Army's Signal Corps, he attended the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Illinois before going to England for advanced flight training at Oxford. To gain combat experience, he was assigned to the Royal Air Force's 65 Squadron on the Western Front on May 22, 1918.

Flying the Sopwith Camel, Kindley scored his first victory on 26 June 1918, shooting down a Pfalz D.III flown by the commanding officer of Jasta 5, Wilhelm Lehmann. Reassigned to the 148th Pursuit Squadron as a flight commander, Kindley's patrol engaged Jasta 11 on August 13, 1918. That day, he scored his fourth victory, shooting down a Fokker D.VII possibly flown by Lothar von Richthofen who was wounded in the battle.

Promoted to Captain on February 24, 1919, Kindley assumed command of the 94th Pursuit Squadron at Kelly Field in Texas in January of 1920. Less than a month later, he was killed during training maneuvers when a control cable broke and his plane crashed to the ground. His Sopwith Camel F.1, claimed to be the only surviving Camel in the United States, was used during the filming of "The Blue Max" in 1968. It is currently on loan to the Aerospace Education Center in Arkansas. Kindley Field in Bermuda was named in his honor.

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

"On September 24, 1918, Lt. Kindley led his flight down on seven Fokkers north of Bourlon Wood, one of which he followed down and saw crash and burst into flames. On September 26, 1918, while working in conjunction with another of our flights, Lt. Kindley's flight accounted for two EA crashed, one of which he got. On September 27. 1918, this officer on low flying duty dropped bombs on railways near Marcoing, then attacked a balloon near Noyelles-sur-l'Escaut, driving same down and compelling the two observers to jump. He then, at an altitude of 600 feet, attacked and silenced an enemy machine gun and shot up troops. Being then attacked by a Halberstadt, he engaged it and brought it down in flames. Lt. Kindley's ammunition then being used up, he started for the lines but on the way back, he saw two EA which he dived on. They turned and went east. This officer has been on active service in France since May 23, 1918. His work in this squadron has been consistently good and since July 30, 1918, he has been leading 'A' Flight with marked success. He has accounted for a total of seven and one half EA destroyed and has driven down out of control, three." DFC citation, London Gazette

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

"For extraordinary heroism in action near Bourlon Wood, France, September 24, 1918. Lt. Kindley attacked a formation of seven hostile planes (Fokker type) and sent one crashing to the ground."

DSC citation Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster

"For extraordinary heroism in action near Marcoing, France, September 27, 1918. Flying at a low altitude, this officer bombed the railway at Marcoing and drove down an enemy balloon. He then attacked German troops at low altitude and silenced a hostile machine gun after which he shot down in flames an enemy plane (Halberstadt type) which had attacked him. Lt. Kindley has so far destroyed seven and one half enemy aircraft and driven down three out of control." DSC Oak Leaf Cluster citation