We shall not forget


The Citadel Class of: 1942
Cadet Company: D, I (4), I – Corporal (3), H – Platoon Sergeant (2),
H – First Lieutenant (1)
Age: 22
Born: 10-Feb-22 in Statesville, N.C.
Hometown: Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina
Family: Ralph Emory Kibler, Sr. (father); Virgina
Wells Kibler (mother); Virgina, Sara, and
Carolyn (sisters)
Rank: Captain
Branch of Service: U.S. Army Air Forces
Servicenumber: O-461141
Entered the Service from: North Carolina
Function: Pilot
Company – Squadron: 370th Fighter Squadron
Unit – Group: 359th Fighter Group
Plane data: Serialnumber, MACR, etc. P-51B-15 42-106865; MACR 4704
Date of death: 11-May-44
Status: KIA
Place of death: over Reims-Champagne airfield, France
Spot: Not Available
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters,
Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Gravenumber: Plot B Row 46 Grave 25
Cemetery: Epinal American Cemetery
Biography: Not Available
Other information:

Pre-Medicine major, member Pre-Medicine Society, member Bond Volunteers, member of Calliopean
Literary Society (Source: Sphinx 1941)

Activities – Calliopean Literary Society, Bull Dog Staff, Sphinx Staff (advertising manager senior year),
Guidon Staff (business manager junior year), Yacht Club, Methodist Club, Pre-Medical Society, Junior
Drill Platoon (Bond Volunteers), Senior Drill Platoon (Summerall Guards)
Major – Pre-Medical
(Source: Sphinx 1942)

“CAPT. Ralph G. [sic] Kibler, Morganton,N.C., dog-fought down the streets of Hamm, Germany, until
he forced an FW-190 to crash head-on into a three-story building. Kib. nearly got the Nazi as he pulled
up to avoid the buildings.” – Source: WWII 359th Fighter Group History p. 46. (note: Photo of R.E.
Kibler on p.41)

“The men of the 359th often carried out their assignments with pure abandon, and that spirit was
exemplified by Lt Ralph E Kibler Jr when he chased a Fw 190 down the streets of Hamm, Germany,
until it crashed head-on into a three-storey building.” – Source: 359th Fighter Squadron, Jack H. Smith,
Osprey Publishing Limited, 2002, p. 6.
(note: Photo of R.E. Kibler on p. 7)

“May 11, 1944 mission: Col. Tacon leads and the FG crosses in at 1470 south of Calais to make R/V at
1507 near Besancon. The bombers are escorted to the Mulhouse area and are left there at 1555. On the
way out, eight P-51s of the 370th FS strafe the Reims-Champagne airfield. Lt. Hollis destroys a Me-410
but flak gunners knock down three Mustangs. Lt. William R. Hodges bails out and evades; Lt. Edward J.
Maslow bails out and is captured; and Lt. Ralph E. Kibler is killed.”
Source: Planes of the 359th Fighter Group, Facebook

“In obedience to an injunction in the FO the Group had not carried wing tanks, and many men, especially
the new pilots, had “a sweat job” to get home. Worse yet, the debonair Kibler, slim, sandy, politely
aggressive young graduate of the Citadel and US Anti-Aircraft office, and the equally nonchalant, black-
haired Hodges both led their flights down on Reims-Champagne on the homeward journey. There was no
cover for five miles. The Germans saw them coming and there was vicious flak all the way. Kibler, sure,
suave, married just before he left the States, did not come back, and there was no radio chatter to give
clue to his fate.” – Source: Excerpts from Fogg in the Cockpit, the Wartime Diary of Captain Howard Fogg:
Report from the Office of the Group Historian for May 1944 dated 4 June 1944

Story in Morganton News Herald May 30, 2011
Tribute website to 8th AAF 359th FG 370th FS
Photo dated July 23, 1943 at Fogg in the Cockpit

Sources: American Battle Monuments Commission, The Citadel Archive & Museum, Mike Stannard ’65, Find A Grave.com, Record of Births Iredell County NC, Sphinx 1941 & 1942

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One response

  1. susan

    Ralph E. Kibler, Jr., was my uncle, although he died b4 I was born. From all that I’ve heard and read about him, he sacrificed himself to down a German bomber. like so many Citadel grads, he was a true hero. He left behind his wife, Janice, and his birth family in Western North Carolina.

    January 31, 2018 at 10:08 pm

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