April 22, 2008 (by Jonathan Somerville) - On Tuesday, April 22nd 2008, WC-130J #98-5307 was dedicated "Spirit of Keesler" by the 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Many of Keesler's descendents were on hand to help commemorate the aircraft.
Dedicating the Keesler name goes back to before American involvement in World War Two. Lieutenant Keesler had died of wounds during World War I while serving in France as an aerial observer assigned to the 24th Aero Squadron. When the War Department wanted to build a base in the Biloxi region, word was received that a local school was being named in honor of Keesler. So on August 25th 1941, Army Air Corps Station No. 8 was officially designated as Keesler Army Airfield.
Isabel Miller, one of Keesler's nieces was able to attend, she was even there back in 1942 during the formal dedication of the airfield.
The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known as the 'Hurricane Hunters,' and have now converted to the C-130J. In September of 2007 another aircraft was dedicated 'Spirit of Gulfport.'