Kelsey Ray



Due to large file of this page, we have opened a new page for Kelsey to add things that have recently been received from his daughter, Lisa.  We will update the new page as additional things are shared with us.  We appreciate Lisa sharing her pictures.  The new page is open but still under construction.

  Kelsey's New Page



Relaxing at Robbins Family Reunion (Mother's Family)





High School Days in Detroit

In a homeroom election, Kelsey was voted:

*Most Dependable Boy (Alice for the girl)

*Most Temperamental Boy

*Cutest Boy Smile

*Neatest Boy

*Best Looking Boy

(See Alice's page for her "best" qualities per the class)



Growing up in East Jenkins before Detroit

"Need a bigger wagon!"

Alice was probably pulling him (grin)



In front of our store

Daddy and Kelsey Ray


Kelsey went into armed services as soon as he was old enough.

He loved the travel and excitement of seeing the world while serving his country and was able to finish his education as well.

Kelsey tried the navy first, but his problem with motion sickness helped him to decide on a career with the  air force instead.

Kelsey in his red beret uniform (Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service).  He was a Senior Master Sergeant.  

In full dress

Kelsey received many citations for bravery and service above the call of duty during rescue missions for the military and rescues for civilians.

Kelsey and Janet had two girls: Michelle and Lisa. 

Janet and Kelsey, Lisa and Michelle

At bat!


Lisa still lives in Frederick with her husband, Alan Bender, and her mom, Janet, and sons.  Janet is originally from near London, England and tries to go back to visit her family there as often as she can. 

Michelle was afflicted with asthma all of her life and died young shortly after her marriage to Wayne Dryman at Frederick, Maryland where she and Lisa lived with their mother. 

Michelle's Wedding Day

Violetta, Michelle, Wayne, Mother and Steven

In California

Jennifer and Michelle

(click on picture for enlargement)


Another Wedding Day



Lisa and Zach


Alan, Janet, Lisa and Zach visiting in Kentucky

The newest addition 

Kelsey Lee Bender.  "Kelsey" is named for his grandfather and great-grandfather.  He arrived January 10, 2004.


Up to his ears in suds

Kelsey Lee

Little Animal Lover

Zachary Bender and "friend"

Just like~~

His grandfather--

Kelsey Ray with his beloved dog in East Jenkins



Kelsey's Detroit Friend(s)

Kenny Barnes and "Smear"

(See "The Twins" page for a story about "Smear")


Kelsey Ray & friend Sonny Duncan



Flying like Dad

Lisa wanted to experience what her dad did when he was floating through the air in a parachute doing his rescue missions in the air force, so she decided to try it for herself.  Brave young lady!

Dad's example





 Vacation Time for Kelsey's Grandsons

 Zach and Kelsey Lee are Lisa's boys

Click on pictures for enlargement


Having Fun

Click here and here for more pictures of Kelsey and family




Below is a typed copy of a newspaper article.  My copy is too smudged to be  clearly reproduced here.



Kwang Ju AB—Seven Korean soldiers and 11 civilians won’t soon forget the air rescue personnel at this base.  Their lives will be a constant reminder to them of the day they stared death in the face and were plucked from its grasp by four Americans. 

The Americans, Maj. William F Cunningham, Jr., Maj. Wayne I. Ritter, TSgt. Larry K.Henderson and SSgt. Kelsey R. Adams are assigned to Det. 10, 41 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing here. 

The day the men were called into action was by no means an ideal one for rescue operations.  Heavy rain pelted the base and a shroud of fog forced closing of the air field.  Such a day is normally a paperwork day for a helicopter unit.

But at 8:36 AM, the paperwork was shoved aside when the rescue unit received a call from Lt. Col. Hesup S. John, safety officer for the Republic of Korea’s 1st Fighter Wing here,

Col. John informed the rescue alert crew that some Korean Army Corps of Engineers troops were stranded on the top of a diesel shovel in the middle of the Hwang Yong River and that the river was rising rapidly.  The normally placid, sand-bar ridden river had been swollen by more than three inches of rain and had turned into a raging torrent. 

Despite the adverse weather conditions the rescuemen were off in a matter of minutes with Col. John along as guide and interpreter.

Minutes later, Maj. Cunningham, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, was hovering his HH-43B Huskie helicopter over the nearly-submerged piece of equipment.  He positioned the helicopter, with the assistance of his co-pilot, Maj. Ritter, 38, of Monteno, IL, about 18 feet above the men.

     Sgt Adams, 34, of Detroit, MI, a Pararescue man, was lowered to the roof of the diesel cab where he assisted the Korean soldiers in putting on a rescue hoist.  One by one they were raised and helped into the chopper by Sgt. Henderson, 38, of Tampa, FL, the flight mechanic.

Four men were taken to safety first and then the other three along with Sgt. Adams.

After talking with the soldiers, Col. John learned that the men were taking fill from the river when they suddenly discover a “wall of water” gushing toward them. 

The diesel was eventually completely covered.  The depth of the river was estimated to have arisen 10 feet.

Upon returning to the base, rescue personnel noticed that one of the helicopter blades had been damaged.  As is the practice, immediate repairs were made in the event another rescue mission should be  called.  And it wasn’t long before one was called. 

At 1 PM Col. John called again.  This time 11 Korean civilian workers were trapped in a sandbar which was rapidly becoming smaller as raging waters deluged it.

The scene was only two miles downstream from the morning’s accident.  As the rescue men appeared over the area it appeared to them that the civilians were attempting to construct a makeshift raft and fighting the erosion of their tiny island with shovels, throwing dirt into rapidly disappearing edges of the sandbar.

The helicopter was positioned about one foot above the area with the right wheels over the island, the left ones over the water.  This allowed an open area on the sandbar for rescue operations.  Again, Sgt. Adams and Henderson guided Koreans into the chopper, using a hoist as a step.  Two trips were required to ferry the men to safety.

Referring to the rescue mission, Col. John said that all 18 men could very well have been lost in the swift waters had not help arrived in time.

(Picture not reproducible)

 This is one of many rescues that Kelsey was involved in.


Reprinted from the May 27, 1976 local paper, Community Press, Letcher County, KY

U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Kelsey R. Adams, whose parents are Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey G. Adams of Jenkins, KY, recently participated in the sixth annual military jumpfest at Hurlburt Field, FL.  The sergeant was among 300 participants representing military jumpers from armed forces units worldwide and the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Jumping competition included free fall and static-line accuracy.  Sergeant Adams is a parachute recovery technician assigned at McClellan AFB, Calif., with a unit of the Military Airlift Command.

(Picture not reproducible)



Kelsey didn't talk of his many citations and recommendations to his family.  He knew we would worry about his many rescue efforts as he worked with other crew members of their "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter, so we didn't learn of the bulk of them until after his death.  We have decided to post some of them here for the family to see and appreciate his loyal service in the Air Force.



Click on picture for enlargement



Kelsey received a high recommendation for promotion just a little more than a year before his death.  

The recommendation resulted in his promotion to Senior Master Sergeant.

Recommendation for Promotion



One of many of Kelsey's Citations


Click on document to read

We tried importing several citations but had to removed them because it took "forever" for them to load.






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Copyright Kelsey Adams Family 2004


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