Robert Lewis Coffey, Jr. – Colonel, United States Air Force

Member of Congress

Courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives:

Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tenn., October 21, 1918; moved with his parents in early boyhood to Pennsylvania and graduated from the Ferndale High School in 1935; also attended the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State College; employed in coal mines in all positions from coal loader to engineer; appointed a flying cadet September 23, 1939; commissioned a second lieutenant in June 1940; promoted to first lieutenant November 1, 1941, and served in the United States Army Air Force during the Second World War; military air attaché, United States Embassy, Santiago, Chile, from October 1945 to April 1948; resigned his commission as a lieutenant colonel September 1, 1948, to pursue political candidacy; commissioned a colonel, Air Force Reserve, September 2, 1948; awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Presidential Citation, and Belgian and French Croix De Guerre; elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-first Congress and served from January 3, 1949, until his death in an airplane accident in Albuquerque, N.Mex., April 20, 1949; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.

Service for Congressman Held at Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania, April 22, 1949 – The body of Representative Robert L. Coffey, Jr., Democrat of Pennsylvania, was flown here today for a funeral service.

A guard of honor accompanied the body of the 30-year-old Congressman killed in the crash of a jet plane at Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Wednesday.  Massed color guards of veterans’ organizations and high city officials met the funeral group at the airport.

The body was taken to Memorial Baptist Church.  It will be flown to the Military Air Transport Service Terminal at Washington National Airport, and from there to the mortuary at Fort Myer, Virginia.

A service will be held in the Fort Myer Chapel tomorrow.  Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery.


WASHINGTON, April 23, 1949 – Representative Robert L. Coffey, Jr., of Pennsylvania was buried with military honors today in Arlington National Cemetery,

The Congressman was killed at Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wednesday when his Air Force jet fighter crashed shortly after takeoff.  A funeral service was held in the chapel at Fort Myer, adjoining the National Cemetery.  The Rev. J. F. Nolan, Catholic Chaplain stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, conducted a requiem mass.



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