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Always Remember Those Who Gave All: MC WW2 Gold Stars and MIA Survivors

Obie Jenkins

Obie Jenkins (1917-1945)

MC Class: 1939

Years at MC: 1935-1939

Hometown: Maryville, TN

Life at MC: Mathematics major; Football Team, Wrestling Team

Military Branch: US Army Air Forces

Military Unit: 878th Bombardment Squadron, 499th Bombardment Group

Rank: 1st Lieutenant (Co-Pilot)

Medals Awarded: None Known

Date Missing: 14 April 1945

Date of Death: 14 April 1945

Location of Death: Approximately 40 miles inland over Japan

Circumstances of Death: "Aircraft B-29-42 with serialnumber 42-24644 departed from Saipan, Marianas Islands on a combat mission to Tokyo, Japan. The aircraft with eleven crew members was not contacted by radio after the take-off.
T/Sgt Louis T. Vance parachuted from the damaged plane, and had been evacuated to the United States and stated: Enemy fighter fired two bursts into number four engine and vicinity which ignited the engine and also punctured a fuel cell directly behind number four engine. This happened about 1:00 A.M., 14 April 1945. We were flying in a course going from Tokyo to Choski Point. At the time of bailing out we were approximately 40 miles inland. Everyone had ample time to bail out before the ship exploded in mid-air. To my knowledge no one was injured prior to bailing out. Captain Will F. Latimer Jr. and Staff Sergeant Chester A. Johnson Jr. were reported to have been in Tokyo jail." (

Burial/Memorial Information: Grandview Cemetery, Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee ( and memorial at East Tennessee Veterans Memorial, World's Fair Park, Knoxville, Tennessee (

Additional Information: While at Maryville College, Obie Jenkins dated Betty Jean Felix. In 2021, her daughter donated Obie Jenkins' signed 1938 football, graduation program, and two 1940 letters from Obie Jenkins to Betty Jean Felix ( Additional photos and information about Obie Jenkins can be found on his entry and his East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association entry (

Additional Images:

1938 Signed Football

1938 MC Football Team Member