The son of a former Congressman and Iowa's only World War I ace, John Joseph Seerley attended public schools in Burlington, Iowa and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1919. Following post-graduate work at Northwestern University, he received a law degree and a C.P.A. designation.
After training at Foggia, Seerley was assigned to the 13th Aero Squadron in July 1918. He scored 5 victories in August and September and his commanding officer, Charles Biddle, recommended him for promotion to Captain. The recommendation failed to reach the desk of the commanding general until 25 November 1918, just 14 days after all ranks had been frozen. Seerley was also recommended for, but did not receive, the Distinguished Service Medal. In November 1918, he briefly served as the 13th Aero Squadron's commanding officer.
Returning home after the war, Seerley went on to receive two advanced degrees, entered the business world and, by the time the United States entered World War II, had established his own investment company in Chicago, Illinois.
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
Accepting a Captain's commission in air intelligence during World War II, Seerley returned to service in January 1941 with the rank of Captain but was soon promoted to Major. As combat operations officer, he served as an Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3, 8th Fighter Command. A few hours before he was to have received the Silver Star and Air Medal for conscientious service and gallantry in establishing the maximum fighter protection for American heavy bombers during air raids over Germany, Seerley was killed in an automobile accident on 21 August 1943 at Tetsworth, Oxfordshire, England. He was 45 years old. Full military honors were accorded Major Seerley at burial services in the Cambridge American Cemetery.