405th Bomb Squadron Mission to Dagua by Jack Fellows
Prints are signed by the artist and numbered
199 Limited Edition Giclées....$250
10 Artist Proof Canvases....$350
Paper Size: 30" x 24"
Image Size: 25" x 19.5"
Having been caught completely by surprise by the 5th USAAF the day before, August 17, 1943, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force units at Dagua, New Guinea were not about to let in happen a second time on the 18th. Leading the 405th Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group across the target airfield on the 18th, 405th Squadron Commanding Officer (also action 38th Bomb Group C.O.) MAJ Ralph Cheli was attacked by Ki-43 "Oscars" while entering the target area. Although MAJ Cheli's B-25 Mitchell bomber was severely damaged and set afire, he heroically led the squadron to the target and through the bomb run. Facing a complete loss of control any moment turned left, out of the target area and out to sea, whereupon he managed a successful water landing. The crew members, which had survived the attack by the Oscars and the ditching were subsequently captured by the Japanese at Dagua and either executed on the spot, or transported to Rabaul for interrogation.
It is known that MAJ Cheli made it as far as Rabaul, but none of the six crew members survived the war. MAJ Ralph Cheli was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic leadership on the 18th of August 1943.