Last Known Activity
Ralph Buel Bradshaw, son of Mr. and Mrs. William B. Bradshaw, was born in Cartersville, Georgia on April 28, 1920. He attended Clemson University for the academic year 1938/1939, but did not return to school. At Cartersville, he was employed in the production of dairy products until August 29, 1941 when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Fort McPherson, Georgia.
He was sent to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri for his initial training. While there, he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet program and sent to Gardner Field, California for flight training. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant at Luke Field, Arizona on July 28, 1943. Further training took him to Santa Ana, California; Waycross, Georgia; and back to Luke Field. He married Sarah Frances Moss of Los Angeles, California on July 8, 1943.
Bradshaw deployed overseas on July 8, 1944, assigned to the 57th Fighter Group at Grosetto, Italy. Here, he was assigned to the 65th Fighter Squadron. He flew 39 combat missions from July to November 1944. Most of the missions were as ground support or dive bombing missions.
Om November 22, 1944, he was assigned to bomb the railroad tracks that transversed the Po Valley. He led his element in a dive, as reported by his wingman, at approximately 45 degrees angle of attack. The wingman observed the bombs hit the tracks, explode, and the concussions rocked Bradshaw's aircraft. A large piece of the right wing fell off the aircraft, and the wing burst into flame. The wingman observed the aircraft made two rolling tumbles, and then crashed. It did not explode, but was covered in flames.
Lt Bradshaw's body was recovered and buried in the local cemetery at Villa Poma, with one dog tag, one religious medal, and a prayer book interred with him. On March 26, 1949, he was exhumed and re-buried in Arlington National Cemetery at Section 34, Site 3578.
Lt Bradshaw was posthumously promoted to the grade of 1st Lieutenant in December, 1944.
His daughter, Rita Sue, was born on November 7, 1944, three weeks before his death. His last letter to his wife indicated he did not know about the birth.
Lt Bradshaw was the pilot of P-47D # 42-27255, nicknamed "Mickey," assigned to the 65th Fighter Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 9995 confirms details pertaining to statements by wingman.
One document erroneously lists the MACR as 9905, which is actually for a C-47 aircraft.