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|6k||Ralph McMaster Rich, born on 22 January 1916 in Denmark, N.D., enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 12 October 1939 in Minneapolis, Minn. After receiving initial flight training in Minnesota, Aviation Cadet Rich reported for active duty at Pensacola, Fl., on 28 December 1939. Designated Naval Aviator on 12 July 1940, he was commissioned ensign on 16 August, and assigned to Fighting Squadron (VF) Six in Enterprise (CV 6) on 28 November. Promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on 28 May 1942, he led a section of fighters covering the approach of American bombers against the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Midway 4 to 6 June 1942. Lieutenant (j.g.) Rich, killed in an airplane crash on 18 June 1942, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for "capable and aggressive leadership" which enabled his attack group to "maintain continuous flight over enemy naval units, thereby assuring our dive bombers an unmolested approach." In addition, Lieutenant (jg) Rich is credited with shooting down one enemy torpedo plane while flying on combat air patrol over Yorktown (CV 5) during the Battle of Midway.
USS Rich (DE 695) (1943-1944) was the first ship to be named in his honor, she was succeeded by DD 820 (1946-1977).
(U.S. Navy photo #NH 99078 from the U.S. Naval Historical Center)
|131k||22 June 1943: Bay City Michigan - Rich's Launching at Defoe Shipbuilding, note the sidewise launch. (Photo © John Arnold Fryberger)||from George M. Fryberger,
In memory of his father,
John A. Fryberger, FC3c, USNR
|79k||8 June 1944: off Normandy - Rich, a U.S. PT boat, a British motor launch, and a U.S. "Auk" class minesweeper are standing by the destroyer Glennon (DD 620), at the right of the photo, after her stern was blown off by a mine, at Normandy on . Rich would soon hit another mine, which also destroyed her stern, and was then sunk by a third mine. (U.S. Navy Photo #NHC 44311)||Mike Green|
|42k||8 June 1944: off Normandy - Rich strikes a mine, amidships, while operating off Normandy. She had been assisting USS Glennon, and had previously hit another mine, which blew off her stern. Of her crew, 27 were killed; 73 wounded; and 62 missing. (U.S. Navy Photo #NHC 44312)|
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