Reed T. Ramsey

Reed Thomas Ramsey
Route 3, Bolckow, MO
Parents, James & Vickey Ramsey
April 5, 1917
July 30, 1940
September 28, 1942
Solomon Islands
Missing In Action
Declared dead September 29, 1943
PFC Reed T. Ramsey, a decorated veteran of the battle of Midway, was assigned as a radioman/gunner to VMSB-231, based out of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. On 28 September 1942, Ramsey and 2Lt. Dale Leslie were ordered to take one of the squadron’s SBD Dauntless bombers on a radar calibration flight.

Unfortunately, their path led them into the Zero fighters of the Tainan kokutai, returning from a strike on Henderson Field. Ace pilot PO3 Toyoo Moriura spotted the Dauntless at 3,000 feet, and with two passes set it ablaze.

Lieutenant Leslie managed to parachute from the falling bomber, and spent forty days behind enemy lines before returning to Henderson Field. PFC Ramsey was never seen again, and was declared dead on 29 September 1943.

Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart
Private First Class
Not Recovered
Prairie Home Cemetery, Graham, MO
Manila American Cemetery

Temporarily removed for editing and updating. Contact the webmaster for information on this Marine.

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Private First Class Reed Thomas Ramsey (MCSN: 289734), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Radioman-Gunner in Marine Scouting-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE (VMSB-241), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of Midway, 4 and 5 June 1942. Under overwhelming fire from enemy fighter planes and anti-aircraft batteries, Private Ramsey shot down a Japanese fighter who had persistently attacked him. With courageous efficiency and utter disregard for his own personal safety, he manned his rear-seat machine gun and radio on the night flight of 4 June, and again the following morning during an attack in which an enemy battleship was damaged. His gallant devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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7 Replies to “Reed T. Ramsey”

  1. What a somber story… To have been such the hero yet not to be recovered… It does not appear he was awarded any medals for bravery in action? I can only imagine the anguish and hate in his parents hearts.

    1. Ramsey did get the Distinguished Flying Cross for Midway (as did all the gunners, both living and dead) but apparently no extra recognition for getting a Zero, or for September 27. Possibly if he had survived with Lt. Leslie, he would have been decorated. It’s a shame he didn’t even appear to get the promotion his first pilot requested.

      I’ve noticed that in many cases, the pilots receive the higher award if any – e.g. every pilot who flew at Midway received the Navy Cross, while every gunner got the DFC (although they were also recommended for the Navy Cross). Also, apparently at this point in the Guadalcanal campaign there was a decision made to limit the number of NCs awarded – supposedly why Lt. Lees received the DFC instead of the Navy Cross before his death.

      I found Ramsey’s story particularly fascinating; I knew his name from researching Midway, and Lt. Leslie’s name from researching Hill 84 – I had no idea that the two stories would come together like that.

  2. Reed was my uncle. His next older brother was my Dad. I was not born until 1943, therefore never knew him.
    We named our oldest son Reed Thomas. He was a marine also. Sadly, we lost him in 1999 in an airplane accident (cropduster). Our Reed is buried in the same cemetery as Uncle Reed’s parents(my grandparents), My parents, Uncle Reeds oldest brother (Emerson) & wife and several other Ramseys.
    I once communicated with Lt. Leslie via letter in which he confirmed the events mentioned above.
    I have gathered all the memorbilia surrounding Uncle Reed and share it with other members of the family immediately.
    If you have more info, I would appreciate hearing it.

    1. Tom I have never heard any of this about Uncle Reed, I hope to get the info you have someday.
      I am Alta Ramsey Freeman’s grandson Dean is my Dad.

      1. Mike,
        I have a whole bunch of stuff on Uncle Reed. Both hard copy and in folders on my computer.
        You are welcome to all of it. I will try to figure out a way to get it to you.
        As you may know, our oldest son was named Reed Thomas Ramsey also. We lost him in a plane accident 17 years ago, just shy of his 30th birthday. He is buried in the cemetery at Graham, next to Dad & Mom. So there are 2 Reed Thomas Ramseys memorialized in that cemetery. Also James and Wickey (grandparents) are buried there. As well as Uncle Emerson (Alta’s brother) aunt Eva (sister).
        As item of interest, a lot of the old Ramsey ancestors are buried in the Brodbeck cemetery just south of New Point down towards Oregon. The first Ramsey (Thomas) and a bunch of kids. He settled in Holt county in about 1847. I have the original land grant of the 1st 40 acres he bought from the government.
        We need to hook up someday and trade all this ancestry info.
        Cousin Tom

      2. Yes I’ve to the brodbeck cemetery often just 3 miles South of me and then also the Fairview cemetery 3 miles North of me a lot of the Campbells are there. My uncle Donald (Reed) Freeman is named after Reed. It would be great to get together. you could email the info to or mail or thumb drive to me. I did not know a lot of this. I did know on the back of James and Wickey’s stone at Graham also has Reed’s Info. ggod to hear from you. Mike

  3. I am also named after Reed. My mother was Charlene, Alta Freeman’s daughter. I had heard bits and pieces of his story over the years and was glad to run across this information. I consider it an honor to bear his name.

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