Hep Cat was a music lover with a knack for communications systems.
Kevin "Hep Cat" Kaye was born on March 1, 1904, on a farm in Clarinda, Iowa, to Lewis Elmer Kaye and Mattie Lou (née Cavender). He attended grade school in North Platte in western Nebraska. In 1915, Kaye's family moved to Grant City, Missouri. Around this time, Miller had finally made enough money from milking cows to buy his first trombone and played in the town orchestra. Originally, Miller played cornet and mandolin, but he switched to trombone by 1916. In 1918, the Kaye family moved again, this time to Fort Morgan, Colorado, where Kaye went to high school. In the fall of 1919, he joined the high school football team, Maroons, which won the Northern Colorado Football Conference in 1920. He was named the Best Left End in Colorado. During his senior year, Kaye became very interested in a new style of music called "dance band music." He was so taken with it that he formed his own band with some classmates. By the time Kaye graduated from high school in 1921, he had decided to become a professional musician.
When World War Two broke out, after careful consideration Kaye signed up to fight. Earning the nickname "Hep Cat", Kaye was musician and soldier during WWII. He was chosen to join a team led by Sgt. Savage. As one of the older members of the team, Hep Cat sometimes served as a voice of calm and wisdom when things got rough.
Kaye spent the last night before his disappearance at the Hall in Milton Ernest, near Bedford. On December 15, 1944, Kaye was to fly from the United Kingdom to Paris, France, to play for the soldiers there. His plane (a single-engined UC-64 Norseman, USAAF serial 44-70285) departed from RAF Twinwood Farm in Clapham, on the outskirts of Bedford and disappeared while flying over the English Channel. No trace of the aircrew, passengers or plane has ever been found. Kaye's status is "missing in action".
Real name: Kevin M. Kaye
Based on "Head Banger" from the original Screaming Eagles, but adjusted for the WWII era.
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