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Name: Ralph Ambrose O'Neill
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Croix de Guerre and Bronze Star
Ralph O'Neill
Country: United States
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: United States Air Service
Units: 147th Aero
Victories: 5
Born: 07 December 1896
Place of Birth: Durango, Mexico
Died: 23 October 1980
Place of Death: San Mateo, California, USA
Cemetery: Holy Cross Cemetery, Menlo Park, California, USA Image
 
 
The son of Ralph Lawrence and Dolores O'Neill of Nogales, Arizona, Ralph Ambrose O´Neill joined the United States Army Signal Corps in August 1917 following a year of study at Lehigh University. Upon completion of his flight training with the Royal Flying Corps at Ft. Worth, Texas, he was assigned to the 147th Aero Squadron flying the Nieuport 28 and the SPAD XIII. After the war, he returned to the United States and began a career in civil aviation. From 1920 to 1925 he worked under contract for the Mexican government organizing and training a modern air force. In 1927 he became the sole Latin American representative for both Boeing and the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, and in 1929 he founded and headed the New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line, about which he wrote in his 1973 book, "A Dream of Eagles." O'Neill was buried with full military honors at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park, California. He is a member of the OX5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame and is to be inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in the spring of 2012.
Santa Cruz County Honor Roll
Nogales, Arizona
Obituary
Nogales International, Nogales, Arizona, Wednesday, 26 November 1980, page 12
Combat Report, 15 September 1918
Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, 14 April 2012
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Ralph Ambrose O'Neill, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Chateau-Thierry, France, July 2, 1918. Lieutenant O'Neill and four other pilots attacked 12 enemy battle planes. In a violent battle within the enemy's lines they brought down three German planes, one of which was credited to Lieutenant O'Neill.
General Orders No. 116, W.D., 1919
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Ralph Ambrose O'Neill, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Chateau-Thierry, France: On July 5, 1918, First Lieutenant O'Neill led three other pilots in battle against eight German pursuit planes near Chateau-Thierry. He attacked the leader, opening fire at about 150 yards, and closing up to 30 yards range. After a quick and decisive fight the enemy aircraft fell in flames. He then turned on three other machines that were attacking him from the rear and brought one of them down. The other five enemy planes were driven away.
General Orders No. 116, W.D., 1919
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Ralph Ambrose O'Neill, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Fresnes, France, July 24, 1918: Lieutenant O'Neill, with four other pilots, engaged 12 enemy planes discovered hiding in the sun. Leading the way to an advantageous position by a series of bold and skillful maneuvers. Lieutenant O'Neill shot down the leader of the hostile formation. The other German planes then closed in on him, but he climbed to a position of vantage above them and returned to the fight and drove down another plane. In this encounter he not only defeated his opponents in spite of overwhelming odds against him, but also enabled the reconnaissance plane to carry on its work unmolested.
General Orders No. 116, W.D., 1919
 
Croix de Guerre
Fierce combat pilot with unfailing courage.  On July 5, 1918, he destroyed two enemy planes.  On July 2, he attacked with his patrol a formation of twelve enemy battle planes and officially shot one down.  On July 24, he shot down a new adversary and put to flight a second after a fierce combat.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 02 Jul 1918 1730 147th Nieuport 28 Fokker D.VII 1 Château Thierry
2 05 Jul 1918 0930 147th Nieuport 28 Pfalz D.III 2 Château Thierry
3 24 Jul 1918 1735 147th Nieuport 28 Fokker D.VII 3 Bois de Eere
4 24 Jul 1918 1735 147th Nieuport 28 Fokker D.VII 3 Bois de Eere
5 10 Oct 1918 1615 147th SPAD XIII (S4625) Rumpler C 4 Bantheville

1 Shared with Lt T C Bronson, Lt C W McDermott, Lt M O Parry, Lt Kenneth Porter, Lt J H Stevens
2 Shared with Lt Francis Simonds
3 Shared with Lt T J Abernathy, Lt James Healy, Lt A H Jones, Lt C P Porter
4 Shared with Lt James Meissner, Lt G C Waters
 
Books
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
 
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