S/Sgt. Ralph E. Ledogar

S/Sgt. Ralph Ledogar KIA

During Bombing Mission over Germany

(Dec. 21, 1944) -- S/Sgt. Ralph E. Ledogar, 20, formerly of Floyd Street, was killed in action May 30, when the Flying Fortress in which he was flying was shot down over Germany.

The 303rd Bomber Group (H) Mission No. 165 is detailed here. Here is an excerpt:

Lt. Van Weelden later advised that the formation had flown a double bomb run. On the second run, he couldn't make the turn and lagged behind the formation. ME-109s spotted the B-17 and inflicted additional damage on the Fortresses. After giving the bailout order, he flew the aircraft alone for "quite a distance." After landing and being captured, he was told that the bodies of the co-pilot, radio operator, waist gunner and tail gunner had been found near his crashed B-17. He knew this was untrue because of the distance he had flown since they had bailed out. He believes they were shot by the Germans.

Crewmembers killed were: 2Lt. William A. Sysel, S/Sgt. Ralph E. Ledogar, S/Sgt. William K. Forsythe and Sgt. John K. Barry.

Lt. Sysel, S/Sgt. Ledogar and S/Sgt. Forsythe are buried in Ardennes American Cemetery near Liege, Belgium.

Sgt. Barry is buried in Netherlands American Cemetery, Martgratten, Netherlands. Lt. Van Weelden, 1Lt. Robert W. Saumsiegle, 1Lt. Ronald J. Vincent, Sgt. Phillip A. Olander and Sgt. Urban L. Raterman were captured and taken prisoner.

He enlisted in February 1943. He went overseas one month before he was killed. He served with the Eighth Air Force as a radio operator and gunner on a B-17 of Hell's Angels Squadron.

Ledogar graduated Belleville High School in 1941.


Staff Sergeant Ralph E. Ledogar, U.S. Army Air Forces, Serial # 32766822

359th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: May 30, 1944

Buried at: Plot C Row 2 Grave 39, Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium

Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart


Sources

American Battle Monuments Commission

The Belleville Times, Dec. 21, 1944

303rd BG

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