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Posted 11/7/2006 Printable Fact Sheet
Distinguished Service Cross
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Paris, France, January 16th. 1919. 

From: 1st. Lieut. H. W. Riley, 24th Aero Squadron 

To: Chief of Air Service, American E. F., (Thru channels) 

Subject: Distinguished conduct of 2nd. Lieut. Samuel R. Keesler, observer, 24th. Aero Squadron. 

1. In the late afternoon of the 8th. of October, 1918, Lieut. Keesler and myself were on a mission east of Verdun. Shortly after we crossed the lines and just before we had covered the assigned territory, four Fokkers came from the French side of the line and attacked us. I am certain Lieut. Keesler shot down the leader as he attacked first, and I saw him go down in a steep nosedive. The other three E. A. opened fire immediately and crippled one aileron, shot away my rudder controls and part of my elevators. Lieut. Keesler fired all the way down and after we crashed although he had been shot three times thru the chest and three times in the abdomen. The three Huns hung over us at a low altitude and kept firing after we were clear of the wreck. Lieut. Keesler was hit in the hip before we could get under cover. From 5:15 until 12:00 that night, when we reached a dressing station, Lieut. Keesler received no medical attention and although he must have suffered terribly, he showed wonderful self-control and won the admiration of all the German soldiers who came to look at him. Lieut. Keesler died the following noon. 

2. Lieut. Keesler's conduct was a grand demonstration of the morale of our Air Service and I hope it will not go unrecognized.


H. W. Riley,
1st Lieut., A. S., U.S.A.
Pilot, 24th Aero Squadron

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