In Memory of
U.S. Army Air Force Sergeant
Robert John Beller
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Brown County
June 16, 1924 – February 12, 1945
Killed in Plane Crash in the Pacific

Robert John Beller

Robert John Beller was born June 16, 1924, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Carl and Ada Beller. He had two sisters, Dorothy and Beverly. The family moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota in 1930. “Bob,” as he was known, graduated from Central High School and then attended School of Mines in Rapid City for a year before entering the service.

On June 4, 1943, Robert Beller was inducted into the service at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and then transferred to the enlisted reserve corps on the same date. On June 21, 1943, Robert reported for active duty at Omaha, Nebraska. Beller did his basic training at Sheppard Field in Texas and from there had further training at a university in Nevada and then completed radio school at Scott Field, Illinois. According to the local newspaper, “He was one of the first to take special B-29 training at Lincoln and Grand Island, Nebraska.” Sergeant Beller was sent overseas on January 14, 1945.

Less than a month later, on February 12, 1945, Sergeant Robert Beller, 39th Bomb Squadron, 6th Bomber Group, was killed in a plane crash. His mother received a letter from the Headquarters, Twentieth Air Force, that stated in part:

Additional information has been received indicating that Sergeant Beller
was the radio operator on a B-29 (Superfortress) bomber which participated
in a mission on 12 February 1945. The report reveals that during this mission,
shortly after the take-off, your son’s bomber was observed to be having
difficulty. A few minutes later the plane left the formation, gradually lost
altitude, and was seen to make a crash landing in the sea. Searches were
immediately instituted by Air Sea Rescue squadrons, but up to this time
no further information has been received in this headquarters relative to
the whereabouts of your son….

Robert Beller is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii. There is also a marker for him at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, Fallen Sons State Coordinator, Spearfish, SD.  Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment and the Aberdeen American News, issues 3/25/45 and 8/27/45.