Karl Wendell Kirchwey was born on July 30, 1921, in Brooklyn, New York, to Helen Hutchinson Jervis, age 24, and Karl Wendell Kirchwey, age 36. Karl Sr. rented a home on Stuyvesant Avenue in Rye. Household members included Puiella Kirchwey, Diana Kirchwey, Kim Kirchwey and Catherine OHearn. Karl served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Karl Jr. was a pilot of an
Air Group VF-10. He was attached to the USS Enterprise flying missions attacking enemy positions in preparations for the invasion of Saipan.
On 6 June 1944, ENTERPRISE, as a unit of Task Group 58.3 (Rear Admiral J.W. Reeves, Jr., USN, Commander Carrier Division FOUR, U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, Flagship) departed Majuro Atoll, and proceeded in accordance with reference (b) toward Saipan, Mariana Islands.
At 1300 on 11 June 1944 at a point 229 miles East of Saipan, this vessel launched a fighter sweep to start the combat actions connected with the occupation of Saipan. Description of subsequent actions naturally divides itself into three phases corresponding to the developments.
First Phase - Bombardment and Invasion of Saipan.
From 11 June to 17 June 1944, ENTERPRISE conducted air operations in the area as ordered. Repeated strikes were launched to eliminate enemy air opposition, to destroy AA and coast defense guns and defenses, and to provide air support for the amphibious landing and advance of our ground troops in the seizure of Saipan.
D-DAY on Saipan was June 15th, 1944, Karls Air Group was part of Strike B (0615-0920) attacking enemy positions on the island, it
included 14 VF, 6 VB and 6 VT planes.
As reported in the Enterprises Action Reports
"VF plane piloted by Lt(jg) K. W. Kirchwey, USNR, (VF-10) shot down by AA and pilot lost; 1 VB furnished Air Coordinator #2; trenches south of MT. TAPOTCHAU bombed and strafed. 6.5 tons of bombs dropped."
That fateful day the Enterprise launched 110 planes against Saipan dropping almost 40 tons of bombs and 109 returned safely. Lieutenant Karl W. Kirchwey Jr. piloting his F6F-3 Hellcat was the sole casualty that day.
★ World War II Victory Medal★ Air Medal★ Purple Heart★ Combat Action Ribbon★ United States Aviator Badge Navy
★ American Campaign Medal★ Navy Presidential Unit Citation★ Navy Good Conduct Medal★ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
★ Navy Expeditionary Medal
Karl W Kirchwey Jr is buried or memorialized at Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.