JANUARY 9, 1942
NIGHT PRESS COLLECT
MR. R.W. SIMPSON, MANAGING EDITOR
TAMPA MORNING TRIBUNE
IN ONE OF THE FIRST ENGAGEMENTS OF THE JAPANESE WAR, CAPTAIN COLIN P. KELLY, JR., OF MADISON, FLORIDA, SERVING WITH THE UNITED STATES ARMY AIR CORPS IN THE PHILIPPINES DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF BY AN EXCEPTIONAL FEAT OF COURAGE AND MILITARY DARING. AS THE PILOT OF AN ARMY BOMBING PLANE HE FLEW THROUGH A BARRAGE OF ANTI- AIRCRAFT FIRE TO SCORE THREE DIRECT HITS AT CLOSE RANGE ON THE ENEMY BATTLESHIP HARUNE, SENDING HER TO THE BOTTOM. HIS SINGULAR ACHIEVEMENT WILL EVER BE REMEMBERED AND STANDS AS AN INSPIRATION TO EVERY PATRIOTIC AMERICAN. THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA ARE JUSTIFIABLY PROUD OF THE VALIANT ACTION OF ONE OF THEIR SONS. IN CARRYING OUT HIS MISSION, CAPATIN [SIC] KELLY MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE FOR HIS COUNTRY. HE IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIFE AND HIS YOUNG SON, "CORKY", COLIN P. KELLY, III, FOR WHOM PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT HAS ASKED A FUTURE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO SECURE AN APPOINTMENT TO WEST POINT. PATRIOTIC AND SYMPATHETIC AMERICANS THROUGHOUT THE NATION HAVE VOLUNTARILY AND FREELY CONTRIBUTED TO SWELL THE GROWING FUND [**] WHICH WILL ASSURE CORKY'S SUPPORT AND EDUCATION UNTIL HE IS ELIGIBLE FOR ADMISSION TO THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY. THE CREATION OF THIS FUND FOR THE CARE OF LITTLE CORKY KELLY EXPRESSES A WHOLLY SINCERE, SPONTANEOUS AND GRATEFUL TRIBUTE TO THE HEROISM OF HIS FATHER AND SPEAKS IN THE HIGHEST TERMS OF THE WHOLEHEARTED LOYALTY AND SPIRIT OF UNITY OF OUR PEOPLE. I HAVE WATCHED WITH INTEREST HOW THE FUND HAS MOUNTED AND I AM CONFIDENT THAT PEOPLE ALL OVER FLORIDA WILL WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY OF CONTRIBUTING TO LITTLE CORKY'S EDUCATION FUND.
SPESSARD L. HOLLAND
CC: MR. WRENN
[handwritten notes] generously sponsored by the Tampa Tribune, deleted in copies to Wrenn + Griffis
State Archives of Florida: Series S406, Box 63, Folder 9
Press release from Florida Governor Spessard Holland to R. W. Simpson of the Tampa Morning Tribune praising the fund created for Colin P. Kelly III, whose father, Captain Colin P. Kelly Jr., was killed during World War II.
January 9, 1942
Colin Purdie Kelly Jr. of Madison County, Florida, became one of America's first heroes of World War II. A 1937 graduate of West Point, the 29-year-old Kelly was a B-17 pilot in the Army Air Corps, stationed in the Philippines in December 1941 when the islands came under Japanese attack. On December 10, Kelly's plane was sent on a bombing mission to attack Japanese ships off the coast of Luzon. The crew spotted a large ship they believed to be the battleship Haruna and from a height of 20,000 dropped three 600-pound bombs. Though smoke obscured the target, Kelly and his men believed that at least one bomb struck the ship and that the ship was probably destroyed. In fact, the Haruna was not in the vicinity and Kelly's plane had perhaps bombed a large transport or the light cruiser Ashigara, neither of which had sunk. On the return to its base at Clark Field, a Japanese fighter attacked and severely damaged the American bomber. Kelly ordered his crew to bail out, but he unable to exit the plane before it crashed. He was killed instantly.