Daniel Keel was born on September 10, 1922 in Mineola, NY. In 1941, he graduated from Boston Latin School where he attained the rank of Cadet 2nd Lt in JROTC. He continued his education at Northeastern, majoring in aeronautical engineering.
In 1943, Daniel was drafted into the US Army Air Corps and attended training at Keesler Army Air Field and Tuskegee Army Air Field. He received his Twin Engine Navigator and Aerial Bombardier Rating in 1944 as a part of the famed ‘Tuskegee Airmen,’ an all Black aviation unit.
While training in Midland, TX, he and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen officers protested the segregated facilities on base.
Daniel earned his third rating as a pilot in the basic single engine T-6 Texan Training and completed training in the B-25 in preparation of serving in the Pacific. The war ended before his deployment. He was discharged in 1946 and is one of three black officers to earn three aeronautical ratings during WWII.