The Ultimate Sacrifice

For our return to the Pacific War and August 1943….


Art print of Ralph Cheli's B-25 going down over New Guinea. Painted by Steve Ferguson, sold by IHRA

On August 18, 1943, Maj. Ralph Cheli led a strike group from the 38th Bomb Group in an attack against the Japanese airstrip at Dagua, New Guinea, as a part of an all-out low-level B-25 strafer attack against the four airfields in the Wewak complex. Already fighting bad weather across the northern coast of New Guinea, Maj. Cheli’s unit was attacked by roughly ten 59 Sentai Oscars. Soon thereafter, one of the fighters made a five o’clock pass at the lead B-25, its fire ripping into the right engine. Maj. Cheli’s wing burst into flames and he rapidly began losing power as black smoke poured from the engine nacelle and wing. Despite a severely damaged aircraft, Cheli selflessly refused to relinquish leadership of the formation, and continuing his attack across the target, strafing and dispersing his load of parafrag bombs as he went. Only when the attack run was well…

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 2, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. This is a pleasant surprise! Thank you for reblogging another post!

    What’s funny is we were thinking it’s time to post another print and then this shows up. Great minds? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Schönen Sonntag wünsche ich dir liebe Grüße und Umarmung Gislinde


  3. Good heavens, why are these people not famous? I’m always amazed at the tales of heroism I read on your blog, and also at how unknown so many of them are, at least to me.


    • Unknown to many I’m afraid, but they didn’t really look at it that way back then. It was one more trial set in front that generation – one more mountain for them to climb over!!


  4. I will never quite get the ‘execute’ as opposed to take prisoners of war. –Curt


  5. I will never get over the way prisoners were executed by the Japanese.


  6. Happy new to you my friend


  7. Source said “eventually executed”.

    Shouldn’t that have been “eventually murdered”?


  8. What a riveting story and such heroism!


  9. Outstanding post GP. One of my goals for this year is to read as much as I can on the WW2 Pacific Theater.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Steven! You posts show you to be a well-informed blogger, I find it hard to believe that I could teach you!! I hope I meet your expectations!


  10. I never cease to be amazed by the dedicated heroism of our veterans. Thanks, GP, for the post.


  11. I do enjoy your blog! Have a blessed and Happy New Year!



  12. A stirring tale of heroism and sacrifice to start the new year, GP.
    Looking forward to many more excellent posts on PP to come.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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