01 April 2012

Medal of Honor: R. J. Keppler


Boatswain's Mate First Class, US Navy; USS San Francisco (CA 38)

Born: 22 January 1918, Ralston, Washington
Died: 15 November 1942, off Guadalcanal

Citation: For extraordinary heroism and distinguished courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands, 12-13 November 1942. When a hostile torpedo plane, during a daylight air raid, crashed on the after machine-gun platform, Keppler promptly assisted in removal of the dead and, by his capable supervision of the wounded, undoubtedly helped save the lives of several shipmates who otherwise might have perished. That night, when the ship's hangar was set afire during the great battle off Savo Island, he bravely led a hose into the starboard side of the stricken area and there, without assistance and despite frequent hits from terrific enemy bombardment, eventually brought the fire under control. Later, although mortally wounded, he labored valiantly in the midst of bursting shells, persistently directing fire-fighting operations and administering to wounded personnel until he finally collapsed from loss of blood. His great personal valor, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Note: USS Keppler (DE 311), USS Keppler (DE 375) and USS Keppler (DD 765) were named in his honour (though the first two were cancelled during construction).

No comments: