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Ralph Cheli

 

TAPS

Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky,
    Gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh,    
    Falls the night.


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, From the hills,
    From the sky.
All is well, safel
y rest,
    God is nigh.


Then good night, Peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn
    Shineth bright,
God is near, do not fear,
  Friend, good night.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
  78-930-934 (Group Plot) 

Born:  October 29, 1919 at San Francisco, CA

Entered Service in the US Army Air Corps from Brooklyn, NY

Earned The Medal of Honor During World War II For heroism August 18, 1943 at Wewak, New Guinea

Died:  March 06, 1944 at the age of 24

While Major Cheli was leading his squadron in a dive to attack the heavily defended Dagua Airdrome, intercepting enemy aircraft centered their fire on his plane, causing it to burst into flames while still two miles from the objective. His speed would have enabled him to gain necessary altitude to parachute to safety, but this action would have resulted in his formation becoming disorganized and exposed to the enemy. Although a crash was inevitable, he courageously elected to continue leading the attack in his blazing plane. From a minimum altitude, the squadron made a devastating bombing and strafing attack on the target. The mission completed, Major Cheli instructed his wingman to lead the formation and crashed into the sea.
(Major Cheli was executed in captivity as a Prisoner of War)

 

 

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