RALPH A. EMBREE, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Ralph Embree '36

Date of birth: September 25, 1914

Date of death: May 11, 1945

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1936 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Ralph was lost during a raid over Okinawa on May 12, 1945. He was flying a F6F-5 Hellcat as commanding officer of Air Group (CAG) 18, operating from USS Randolph (CV 15).

From Find A Grave:

Ralph Arnold Embree was the son of Royal Howard Embree and Mary Wallace Scott. He married Elanor Williams on June 23, 1938 in Kemmer, WY. They were the parents of at least one daughter. Ralph was a Navy pilot who was killed at the end of WW II. He received the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and addtional Navy and Marince Corps Awards.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He has a memory marker in Kentucky.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander [then Lieutenant] Ralph Arnold Embree (NSN: 0-77166), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot and Acting Squadron Commander of a carrier-based Navy Scouting Plane in Scouting Squadron FORTY-ONE (VS-41), attached to the U.S.S. RANGER (CV-4), during the occupation of French Morocco during the period 8 to 11 November 1942. On 8 November 1942, Lieutenant Embree led five flights in dive bombing attacks on hostile combatant ships in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition. These attacks severely damaged many units of the hostile ships and contributed greatly to the total effort of reducing the resistance to the landing. On 9 November 1942, Lieutenant Embree led two flights in dive bombing attacks on coastal defense batteries in the face of anti-aircraft fire. The courage, initiative, and skill displayed by Lieutenant Embree in the actions described reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Atlantic: Serial 00189 (March 24, 1943)
Action Date: November 8 - 11, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Scouting Squadron 41 (VS-41)
Division: U.S.S. Ranger (CV-4)

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Commander Ralph Arnold Embree (NSN: 0-77166), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while participating as Commanding Officer of a Bombing Squadron and as a Pilot of a carrier-based dive bomber attached to the U.S.S. RANDOLPH (CV-15). He participated in the first attack by Navy carrier-based aircraft on the Tokyo Area. He led his squadron in coordinated bombing attacks on two important aircraft plants on 16 and 17 February 1945, on both occasions personally scoring direct bomb hits on the target. His determination to press home the attacks in spite of extremely adverse weather conditions, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, and enemy fighter opposition, his courage, and inspiring leadership and professional skill were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 1st Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0503 (May 22, 1945)
Action Date: February 16 & 17, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Bombing Squadron
Division: U.S.S. Randolph (CV-15)

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Commander Ralph Arnold Embree (NSN: 0-77166), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in operations against the enemy in the vicinity of the Japanese Empire and adjacent Island chains. As Pilot of a carrier-based plane during the period 16 February to 4 May 1945, he participated in twenty strikes against enemy shipping, airfields and installations, inflicting extensive damage. His skill and courage were at all times inspiring and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 0126 (May 26, 1945)
Action Date: February 16 - May 4, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Bombing Squadron
Division: U.S.S. Randolph (CV-15)

Wartime Service

Ralph was a member of Scouting Squadron (VS) 41 "High Hats" flying cover for Operation Torch, the invasion of French Morocco. From With Utmost Spirit: Allied Naval Operations in the Mediterranean, 1942-1945 by Barbara Tomblin:

Air operations began early on D-Day Plus One, for ashore French resistance to the landings had stiffened, and the French still controlled the airfield and many gun batteries. … At 0645 Ralph Embree took off with five planes from the VS-41 High Hats and silenced an enemy battery. …

When Ralph Embree and three other Dauntless pilots took off around noon and attacked a line of French tanks and transports trying to sneak in toward the city of Casablanca, the French soldiers fought back, shooting at the American planes with a .50-caliber machine gun. Embree and his radioman dropped down to strafe a truck. "Suddenly it headed for the field and Embree, so intent on concentrating on his target, flew his plane head on through a roadside eucalyptus tree." When Embree returned to the ship, witnesses said his plane looked "as if it had been passed through a mincing machine."

He was mentioned elsewhere through this book, including mention of a successful strike against a French battleship.


Class of 1936

Ralph is one of 38 members of the Class of 1936 in Memorial Hall.