Robert Earl Gee
Robert was born in Greenbriar County, WV to a farming family that had roots in the county dating back to the early 1800s. After high school, Robert enrolled at West Virginia University in the College of Agriculture where he was a member of the Army ROTC as well as the Ag Club and FFA. After two years at WVU, he enlisted as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Corps 15 AUG 1941.
118th maneuvers along the east coast would have him flying P-39s, P-40s, and finally P-51s. After tactical reconnaissance training in November 1943, Gee was put in charge of 'A' Flight. He flew the Hump with the squadron 12 June 1944 and flew his first offensive mission on 28 June 1944. 06 Aug 1944, would be another busy day for the 118th as they would fly four missions. Gee lead the third mission of the day which consisted of eight P-40s off at 1035 on a three hour mission to bomb and strafe targets of opportunity in the Hengyang area. They returned at 1320. Gee would also lead the fourth mission of the day. This mission, #119, took off less than three hours after the prior mission ended. Gee would again lead eight P-40s to Hengyang to hit targets of opportunity.
Weather and darkness would create a difficult return for the flight. Major Jones was homed by the directional finder at Yangton Field (Kweilin) and led the remaining seven ships to the airfield. Watts left the formation earlier due to a rough engine and would bailout and return to the squadron. Jones gave the pilots the option to remain in formation or trail. Once over the airfield, Jones descended through the initial overcast at 10,000' and broke out at 8,000'. After initial let down, Gee, O' Brien, and Swanson were not seen. The second layer of overcast was from 6500' to 5000'. When Jones broke out of the second overcast, he was over Kweilin and told the others to let down. Ray Darby noticed two fires burning as he descended through the overcast. The following morning it was determined that the fires he had seen were the crashes of two of the P-40s. Gee, O' Brien, and Swanson were killed when their planes crashed into a mountain while attempting to find the field. Jones, Darby, Stutzman, and Wegman landed safely.