The son of George C. and Ella Kindley, Field Eugene Kindley was a motion picture operator living in Coffeyville, Kansas when he joined the Kansas National Guard in May 1917. Transferring to the U.S. Army's Signal Corps, he attended the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Illinois before going to England for advanced flight training at Oxford. To gain combat experience he was assigned to the Royal Air Force's 65 Squadron on the Western Front on 22 May 1918. Flying the Sopwith Camel, Kindley scored his first victory on 26 June 1918, shooting down a Pfalz D.III flown by the commanding officer of Jasta 5, Wilhelm Lehmann. Reassigned to the 148th Aero Squadron as a flight commander, Kindley's patrol engaged Jasta 11 on 13 August 1918. That day he scored his fourth victory, shooting down a Fokker D.VII possibly flown by Lothar von Richthofen who was wounded in the battle. Promoted to Captain on 24 February 1919, Kindley assumed command of the 94th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field in Texas in January 1920. Less than a month later, in preparaton for a visit by General John J. Pershing, he was severely injured and badly burned during a practice flight when a control cable broke and the S.E.5a he was flying crashed to the ground. He died that evening at the post hospital. Clayton Bissell, one of Kindley's closest friends at Kelly Field, transported the body home to Gravette, Arkansas for burial.
Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville, Kansas, the Captain Field Kindley Memorial Park in Gravette, Arkansas, Kindley Field in Bermuda and Kindley Field at Fort Mills on Corregidor Island in the Philippines were all named in his honor. The Kindley home was acquired by the Gravette City Museum and Field Kindley's personal effects are on display at the Arkansas Air Museum in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
On 24 September , Lt. Kindley led his flight down on seven Fokkers north of Bourlon Wood, one of which he followed down and saw crash and burst into flames. On 26 September , while working in conjunction with another of our flights, Lt. Kindley's flight accounted for two EA crashed, one of which he got. On 27 September , this officer on low flying duty dropped bombs on railways near Marcoing, then attacked a balloon near Noyelles-sur-l'Escaut, driving same down and compelling the two observers to jump. He then, at an altitude of 600 feet, attacked and silenced an enemy machine gun and shot up troops. Being then attacked by a Halberstadt, he engaged it and brought it down in flames. Lt. Kindley's ammunition then being used up, he started for the lines but on the way back, he saw two EA which he dived on. They turned and went east. This officer has been on active service in France since 23 May 1918. His work in this squadron has been consistently good and since 30 July , he has been leading 'A' Flight with marked success. He has accounted for a total of seven and one half EA destroyed and has driven down out of control, three.
Supplement to the London Gazette
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Field E. Kindley, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bourion Wood, France, September 24, 1918. Lieutenant Kindley attacked a formation of seven hostile planes (type Fokker) and sent one crashing to the ground.
General Orders No. 7, W.D., 1919
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Field E. Kindley, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Marcoing, France, September 27, 1918: Flying at a low altitude, First Lieutenant Kindley bombed the railway at Marcoing and drove down an enemy balloon. He then attacked German troops at a low altitude and silenced a hostile machine gun, after which he shot down in flames an enemy plane (type Halberstadt) which had attacked him. Lieutenant Kindley has so far destroyed seven enemy aircraft and driven down three out of control.