|Missing In Action (MIA)||Prisoners Of War (POW)||Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)|
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|Pilot Major Ralph Cheli, O-399830 C.O. 405th BS (POW, executed March 3-4, 1944, BR)
Co-Pilot F/O Don M. Yancey, T-186492 (MIA / KIA) TX
Navigator 1st Lt Vincent A. Raney, O-437474 (MIA / KIA) OH
Radio TSgt Raymond C. Warren, 15088088 (POW / MIA) WV
Gunner SSgt Clinton H. Murphree, 6282173 (POW / MIA) OK
Observer Captain John Holtham Hamon Massie NX42188, AIF (MIA / KIA) Bellevue Hill, NSW
Ditched August 18, 1943 at approximately 9:15am
Over the target, this B-25 was intercepted by enemy fighters and set on fire. Despite this damage, Cheli continued to lead the formation to the target. Afterwards, he successfully ditched into the sea at approximately 9:15am. For this mission Cheli earned the Medal of Honor.
Statement from Capt Okada Takakazu:
Fates of the Crew
The other three crew: Cheli, Warren and Murphree were captured by the Japanese Army and became Prisoners Of War (POW).
Cheli was photographed by the Japanese and reported as captured in the Japanese press. He was the highest ranking American aviator captured at Wewak. Later, Cheli was later transported to Rabaul and detained at the Rabaul POW Prison and later moved to Tunnell Hill POW Camp. He was executed March 3-4, 1944 near Tunnel Hill.
The fates of Warren and Murphree are unknown, but presumed to have died of their wounds or were executed or otherwise died in captivity, possibly at Wewak POW Camp.
Recovery of Remains
Warren and Murphree were officially declared dead on December 3, 1945. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Australian Massie was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at the Lae War Cemetery at the Lae Memorial, panel 1.
Cheli was officially declared dead on March 6, 1944. After his remains were recovered, he was buried on March 21, 1950 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a group at section 78, site 931-934. A marker at section 78 site 930 below the group burial with a gold inlaid relief of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the inscription: "Ralph Cheli Medal of Honor Maj Army Air Forces World War II Mar 6 1944"
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