Ralph James Sageser was the son of Harry Earl Sageser and Esther L Ranshaw.
He served on the U.S.S. St. Louis, Light Cruiser based at Pearl Harbor

Inducted from Tennessee
Rank Ensign
Combat Organization United States Navy Reserve
Date of Loss 7 Aug 1942
Officially declared dead 4 December 1945
Religion No Record
Disposition Nonrecoverable

Chattanooga Memorial Park,  Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, USA

Ralph Sageser is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery, Honolulu, HI

The Chattanooga Daily Times, 20 January 1946
Missing since August 7, 1942, when his navy fighter plane disappeared into a cloud to escape Japanese anti-aircraft fire over the island of Kiska in the Aleutians, Ensign Ralph James Sageser, son of Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Sageser, 22 Martin Road, has now been declared killed in action. Sageser’s parents were so notified by Navy Secretary Forrestall in a letter saying, in part: “Your son, Ensign Ralph James Sageser, United States Naval Reserve, has been carried on the official records of the Navy Department in the status of missing in action as of Aug. 7, 1942. Your son’s plane, a unit of Cruiser Scouting Squadron 4, along with another plane, took off from the U.S.S. Indianapolis, Task Force 8, to observe bombardment of enemy shore installations on the Japanese-held island of Kiska in the Aleutians. The planes encountered anti-aircraft fire and enemy aircraft over Kiska Harbor. Your son’s plane was observed  to enter a cloud and was not seen again. The weather was marked by frequent fog patches and the visibility was poort throughout the flight. The area was thoroughly searched for several days but no trace of your son’s plane could be found. In view of the additional lenght of time that has elapsed since your son was reported missing in action, I am reluctantly force to the conclusion that he is deceased. I know what little solace the formal and written word can be to help meet the burden of your loss, but in spite of that knowledge I cannot refrain from saying very simply that I am sorry. It is hoped that you may find comfort int he thought that your son gave his life for his country, upholding the highest traditions of the navy.”
Ensign Sageser, a former student at the University of Chattanooga, was commissioned Feb. 13, 1942, after training in Atlanta and Pensacola. He enlisted June 19, 1941, being one of the first young Chattanoogans to go into service. At the university here he was a member of the varsity track and field team. He was active in the work of the White Oak Methodist Church. His father is in the Chattanooga postoffice and a sister, Miss Dorothy Sageser, lives in Memphis.

  • Rank: Ensign
  • Date of birth:
  • 1 January 1919
  • Date of death: 7 August 1942
  • County: Hamilton
  • Hometown: Chattanooga
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: USS St. Louis
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XI, Bottom Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Ralph J. Sageser

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