Remains of WWII crewman returned to family after 60 years

From: POW/MIA Branch
Published: Wed Apr 20 2005

Denver, Colorado -- April 20, 2005 -- For almost 60 years, the remains of Denver born, Robert F. Keller, were buried in a common grave on an island off the coast of Alaska. Robert Keller was one of 7 crewmen who died when their twin-engine PBY-5A amphibious reconnaissance aircraft was shot down on June 14, 1942. The aircraft was over Kiska Island, which Japanese forces occupied during part of World War II. A JPAC team (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) recently recovered the remains of the crew from the island. The problem for the Navy was how to find family members so that they could return the remains for a proper burial. Sixty years is a long time....

About two weeks ago a subscriber to The Collectors Newsletter ( suggested that the 235,000 newsletter readers might help the Navy find living relatives of the Kiska crewmen. The online newsletter runs a column that helps people find missing relatives and friends. The column had been quite successful in the past, so it was ideally suited to assist the Navy in their search for Robert Kellers' family. This week, with the help of readers of The Collectors Newsletter, the Navy found the sister of Robert Keller in Denver, Colorado.

"It is of the utmost importance that we find these families, because our mission is to make sure no stone is left unturned in resolving these cases," said Navy Lt. Robert Sanchez, with the POW/MIA Branch of the Navy Personnel Command in Memphis, TN.

Lt. Sanchez noted the efforts of some newsletter readers had been particularly helpful. "We found her thanks to Patti Carter and Dave Berry. Other people were able to send me info that pointed in that direction but the efforts of those two individuals led to finding the exact address and phone number of Mr. Keller's sister. I would also like to thank your other readers, specifically: Cindy Mullet, Terri Saunders, Becky Sailor, Drew Cottril, Capt. Royce Williams, Diane Butler, Stan Wheeler, Pat Smith, Elaine Branham and Carol Sharp"

As a result of this past week's efforts, the Collectors Newsletter will be working with the Navy in coming issues to track down other "missing families" of deceased military personnel. Newsletters can be viewed in the online archive at

Contact Info for POW/MIA Branch
LT Robert V. Sanchez
POW/MIABr, CasAsstDiv, NavPersCom (PERS-624)
Phone: 901-874-2666, DSN 882
Fax: 901-874-6654, DSN 882
Toll free: 800-443-9298

Contact info for The Collectors Newsletter
Phillip Davies
Phone: 1-516-294-3161
Company: POW/MIA Branch
Contact Name: LT Robert V. Sanchez
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 901-874-2666

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