City issues proclamation to honor Roy J. McKinney

Published 4:42 pm Friday, June 15, 2018

City officials are asking the Tennessee Legislature to approve a measure to recognize one of Carter County’s most decorated veterans.

Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander issued a proclamation on behalf of City Council Thursday recognizing the multiple achievements of Roy J. McKinney and to move forward in asking the state to name the bridge over Gap Creek Road on Mary Patton Highway the “Roy J. McKinney Memorial Bridge.” An approval of the naming would be brought before the General Assembly, when they reconvene in January.

During the issuance of the proclamation, read by City Attorney Roger Day, attendees were taken back in time and were able to learn more about the heroic efforts of McKinney, who passed away in 2008, during his time serving with the United States Army Air Corps. According to information provided by the city, McKinney flew 83 combat missions, totalling 1,700 combat hours while serving as a bombardier navigator for the U.S. Army Air Corps, 9th Air Force, 391st Bomber Group — the “Black Death” Marauder Group.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Recalling McKinney’s feats, the county native sank two German submarines on May 10, 1944, in one day, a feat never accomplished by a bombardier in training. Just a few months later, McKinney was awarded the Silver Star on Nov. 6, 1944, in France for “his gallantry in action during a particularly harrowing bombing mission in that despite being wounded in his arm and leg, he preserved to accurately deliver his payload, destroying the crucial Maison La Fite Railroad Bridge,” according to the proclamation. Other accolades earned by McKinney, include the Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 12 clusters; Silver and Bronze, the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the American Defense Service Victory Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, a Distinguished United Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, the ETO Theatre Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters for being wounded in battle three times. McKinney was also the only man in the Army Air Corps to receive the British Flying Cross, which he received in Washington, D.C.

Much like his military career, McKinney carried over his active attitude into the community by participating in various groups and organizations. McKinney was a past commander of the VFW Post 2166, a life member of the American Legion, a member of the Elks Club, a volunteer at the Mountain Home VA in Washington County, a member of the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club and served as the Carter County Court Clerk for 28 years.

In the resolution for the bridge naming, it was noted that Speaker of the State Senate, John S. Wilder, expressed appreciation of McKinney’s efforts during the 104th General Assembly.