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Roland H. Neel

Date of birth: December 23, 1894
Date of death: March 9, 1982
Place of Birth: Georgia, Macon
Home of record: Macon Georgia


Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Second Lieutenant (Coast Artillery Corps) Roland H. Neel, United States Army Air Service, for extraordinary heroism in action while attached to the 99th Aero Squadron, Coast Artillery Corps, U.S. Army Air Service, A.E.F., east of St. Die, France, 17 August 1918. Lieutenant Llewellyn, acting as pilot; and Lieutenant Neel, acting as observer; carried on successfully liaison with the infantry during the attack on Frapelle. They flew over the enemy lines at an altitude of only 400 meters, firing on and disconcerting the enemy and thereby giving courage and confidence to the American forces. Despite heavy fire from 15 anti-aircraft machine guns and several batteries of anti-aircraft artillery, they performed their work efficiently. Their aeroplane was struck by a number of machine-gun bullets, one of which cut the rudder and elevator control wires, and caused the rudder to jam. The broken control wire was held and operated by Lieutenant Neel, under direction of Lieutenant Llewellyn. Running the machine together in this manner, they continued their liaison work until the plane began to become unmanageable; when, in spite of its damaged condition, they brought it back to their airdrome.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders 81 (1919)

Action Date: August 17, 1918

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Company: 99th Aero Squadron (Attached)

Regiment: Coast Artillery Corps

Division: American Expeditionary Forces