Bookmark and Share

Jeremiah Joseph O'Keefe

Date of birth: July 12, 1923
Place of Birth: Mississippi, Ocean Springs
Home of record: Biloxi Mississippi

Jeremiah O'Keefe became an ACE in a day when he shot down 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat over Okinawa on April 22, 1945, adding 2 more victories for a total of SEVEN on April 28. He returned to the U.S. in June 1945, and left active duty at the end of the war. After the war, he graduated from Loyola University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1948, and later bought his father's funeral home business in 1953, which became the Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home in Biloxi, Mississippi. He served as a Mississippi State Legislator from 1960 to 1964, and was Mayor of Biloxi from 1973 to 1981. He and his wife Annette Saxon O'Keefe had 13 children together and lived in Biloxi until her death.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy Cross

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant Jeremiah Joseph O'Keefe (MCSN: 0-25432), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Section Leader and a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE (VMF-323), Marine Air Group THIRTY-THREE (MAG-33), FOURTH Marine Aircraft Wing, in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands, on 22 April 1945. Fighting his plane aggressively in two engagements against a total of more than fifty Japanese suicide dive bombers, First Lieutenant O'Keefe pressed home a series of bold attacks in the face of hostile fire to destroy five of the enemy aircraft. By his resolute courage, skillful airmanship and devotion to duty, he aided materially in preventing the numerically superior force from reaching its objective, and his gallant conduct throughout reflects the highest credit upon First Lieutenant O'Keefe and the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: SPOT AWARD, Commander, Amphibious Forces: Serial 00631

Action Date: April 22, 1945

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Marine Fighting Squadron 323 (VMF-323)

Regiment: Marine Air Group 33 (MAG-33)

Division: 4th Marine Aircraft Wing

Distinguished Flying Cross

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: First Lieutenant Jeremiah Joseph O'Keefe (MCSN: 0-25432), United States Marine Corps, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE (VMF-323), Marine Air Group THIRTY-THREE (MAG-33), FOURTH Marine Aircraft Wing, in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.

General Orders: Heroes U.S. Marine Corps 1861 - 1955 (Jane Blakeney)

Action Date: World War II

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Marine Fighting Squadron 323 (VMF-323)

Regiment: Marine Air Group 33 (MAG-33)

Division: 4th Marine Aircraft Wing