The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 1LT Robert Raney Mosele, who died in the service of his country on February 7th, 1945 in Luzon. The cause of death was listed as KIA. At the time of his death Robert was 32 years of age. He was from Paris, Illinois.
The decorations earned by 1LT Robert Raney Mosele include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Robert graduated from Indiana State Teachers College. At time of joining the Army Robert taught at Fayette Township High School in New Goshen, IN. He was married to the former Mary Louise Prust whom was also a teacher. They had one child,daughter Prustine.
Robert is buried in Roselawn Memorial Park cemetery, Terre Haute, IN.
The U.S. Army Reserve Center in Terre Haute was named in 2nd Lt. Moseles honor on 9 April 1961. The Center serves as a training center for 350 Army Reservists from Vigo, Clay, Vermillion, Parke, and Greene counties in western central Indiana. Second Lt. Moseles name was selected from 35 suggested names for the center.
SILVER STAR CITATION FOR SECOND LIEUTENANT ROBERT R. MOSELE
Second Lt. Robert R. Mosele, (01307566), Infantry, United States Army, for gallantry in action against the Japanese forces at Lupao, Luzon, Philippine Islands, on 7 February 1945. Seeing a squad hesitate when ordered to flank a strong enemy position, Second Lieutenant Mosele, Platoon Leader, jumped up and dashed 15 yards across an open road through a hail of machine gun and 47mm gun fire from six Japanese tanks which were located 60 yards from the squads position. Personally directing the men, he started the forward squad. Then he saw a man from another squad fall wounded on the road in the lane of enemy tank fire. Working his way back to the road he once again dashed out into the hail of fire sweeping the road dragging the man into a partially protected position in the ditch on the side of the road. Having administered first aid, he called for a litter and upon its arrival started to help carry the wounded man to the rear. At this moment a 47mm shell exploded in the ditch next to the litter. Second Lieutenant Mosele was killed instantly. His gallantry in action and coolness under fire proved an inspiration to all the men in his command, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.
General Orders Number ?, Office of the Commanding General, Headquarters, 25th Infantry Division, ? January 1946. This General Order awards the Silver Star Medal to 2nd Lt. Robert R. Mosele for the performance of his duties on 7 February 1945. Document courtesy of the National Archives.
GOOD SAMARITAN IN A JEEP
August or September 1944
Second Lt. Mosele joined G Company in New Zealand just before the unit left for New Caledonia or in New Caledonia shortly after their arrival. He was assigned as the Platoon Leader for the 2nd Platoon and spent the next eight or nine months training and getting to know his men. He quickly became friends with 2nd Lt. Drake, the Platoon Leader for the 3rd Platoon.
Fifteen-day leaves were something men dreamed about when they were stationed in places like New Caledonia and 2nd Lt. Drake was given a fifteen-day leave to New Zealand. The only catch was that he had to find his way to the nearby airstrip to catch one of the periodically departing planes to Auckland. Second Lt. Mosele, ever the Good Samaritan, offered to drive 2nd Lt. Drake to the airport in his jeep.
Second Lt. Drake tossed his duffel bag in the back seat of the jeep and yelled at his pal "Moe", "Come on, slowpoke. I only have an hour to catch that plane."
"Simmer down," 2nd Lt. Mosely called. "You have plenty of time." 2nd Lt. Mosele ducked back into his tent to get his sunglasses and sauntered across G Company Street to the jeep.
They were finally on their way. The jeep moved along the bumpy dirt road leading from Camp Bouloupari to the airstrip. Second Lt. Drake kept thinking of the many places he planned to visit when he reached New Zealand and of the big platters of civilian food he would consume. They reached a bamboo thicket and 2nd Lt. Mosele pulled up beside several sailors who were working under the hood of a half-ton truck.
"What is the trouble fellows?" 2nd Lt. Mosele called out from the drivers seat.
"It does not seem to be getting any gas," a redheaded sailor replied.
"Let us have a look at it," 2nd Lt. Mosele said, climbing down from his jeep. "I am something of an amateur mechanic."
"We do not have time," 2nd Lt. Drake whispered.
Second Lt. Mosele rolled up his sleeves and started checking the spark plugs, gas line, and carburetor. His hands were dirty and his clothes were covered with dirt, sweat, and grease a few minutes later. After what seems like hours to 2nd Lt. Drake, 2nd Lt. Mosele wiped his hands on a handkerchief and said, "Now get on the starter and see if it will kick off."
One of the sailors climbed up into the cab of the truck and stepped on the starter. It buzzed and coughed for almost a minute and then started running smoothly"
The sailors piled into the truck and the driver said, "Thanks a million, Mac," as they drove off.
"Step on it, Moe" 2nd Lt. Drake urged.
"What is your hurry?" 2nd Lt. Mosele asked. "If you miss this plane you can catch the next one in six hours."
"Listen, knucklehead," 2nd Lt. Drake replied. "This is my first leave in over a year. I only have fifteen days and I do not want to spend half a day waiting around some airstrip on this stinking island!"
They took off at breakneck speed for the next five minutes. Then 2nd Lt. Mosele slowed down when they approached a New Caledonian native with a horse-drawn and rustic wooden-wheeled cart. The wheels of the cart were stuck in a big mud hole and the native was urging his lean, shaggy pony to pull it out. Much to 2nd Lt. Drakes annoyance, 2nd Lt. Mosele stopped the jeep.
The pony was straining every muscle and it was easy to see that he would never budge the cart, which was hub-deep in the mud.
"Speak English, Pal?" Moe asked the native.
The native grinned and said, "I speak the English."
"Good," 2nd Lt. Mosele said. "Unhitch the pony, and I'll pull you out with the jeep."
"No, Moe," 2nd Lt. Drake protested. "We do not have time."
Second Lt. Mosele ignored 2nd Lt. Drake's protest. He took a chain out of the back of the jeep, tied it to the cart, put the jeep in four-wheel drive, and gunned the engine. There were three hard jerks on the chain and the cart was back on the road.
Second Lt. Mosele untied the chain, put it back in the jeep, and they continued along the bumpy dirt road. Second Lt. Drake said, "Your playing the Good Samaritan will probably cause me to miss my plane."
"I was raised on a farm," 2nd Lt. Mosele said, "and I know horses. That driver did not know it but his pony was just about ready to drop dead. Now which was more important, the pony's life or your catching a plane?"
Second Lt. Drake did not answer because he knew it was useless to argue with 2nd Lt. Mosele. He always seemed to have a good reason for everything he did and usually made 2nd Lt. Drake feel like a heel when he criticized his wanting to help everyone he met. Second Lt. Drake often got aggravated with him but he was his friend, and when you like someone you cannot stay mad at them.
They reached the airstrip and 2nd Lt. Drake's worst fears came true. The plane they were trying to catch had left five minutes earlier. Second Lt. Drake tried to conceal his annoyance as they sat on his duffel bag and played gin rummy for the next six hours while waiting for the next plane. Second Lt. Drake kept reminding himself that he would be half way to New Zealand if his friend had not tried to outdo the Good Samaritan. He could have caught the first plane if 2nd Lt. Mosele had been satisfied with doing just one good turn but no he had to go whole hog and do two good turns in one day. Well, three, if you consider 2nd Lt. Mosele's driving 2nd Lt. Drake to the airstrip.
Second Lt. Drake did catch the next plane leaving for New Zealand and 2nd Lt. Mosele waved as the plane took off. Second Lt. Drake did not find out until he reached New Zealand that the plane he failed to catch had crashed in the Pacific Ocean an hour after it took off. There were no survivors.
Chapter sources for "Good Samaritan in a Jeep": Drake, 2nd Lt. Josh M., Jr. "Good Samaritan in a Jeep," YOU Magazine, March 1952; and Prust, Daniel. "Good Samaritan in a Jeep," VeteransInfoSource.com, 9 September 2016.
Second Lt. Drake wrote an article about his trip to the airstrip titled, "Good Samaritan in a Jeep" and submitted it to YOU Magazine. It was published by the magazine in March 1952. Second Lt. Drake did not have the address for 2nd Lt. Moseles widow and daughter so he attached a letter to the editor expressing hope that some Good Samaritan would pass their magazine on to them. YOU Magazine published the letter along with the article and someone did pass the article on to them. A framed copy of the article hung in 2nd Lt. Moseles parents living room for many years. A copy was also sent 2nd Lt. Mosele's widow and daughter.
(Second Lt. Mosele was killed and 2nd Lt. Drake was severely wounded by the same Japanese 47mm tank shell five or six months later on 7 February 1945 at Lupao)
Company G 35th Infantry, APO #25, 7 April 1945
Mrs. Robert Mosele
2220 Third Avenue
Terre Haute, Indiana
Dear Mrs. Mosele,
By this time you have been notified of the death of your husband, with whom we served for many months. As Bobs Company Commander, I wish to convey my deepest sympathy, and at the same time, give you a few of the circumstances surrounding his death.
The Company was making an attack on the town of Lupao, Luzon, P.I. on 7 February 1945 when we ran into heavy fire from well-camouflaged Japanese tanks. One of his men was hit by a 47mm tanks shell and fell. Bob jumped to his feet and ran through enemy fire across the front of his platoon to where the man lay. He, one of the company aid men, and two other members of the company were carrying the man to safety. They had reached a point about 50 yards in the rear of our lines when a Japanese 47mm shell hit a nearby tree and exploded; killing Bob and the remaining members of the group. I assure you that you can be proud in the knowledge that his actions were willing, loyal, and courageous in making the noblest sacrifice a man can give-his life for his country and his comrades.
Bob was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known. He was one of the best officers I have ever seen. He held the respect of all the officers and men in the company. His examples of courage and leadership are an inspiration to all of us when the going is tough and the odds are against us.
Bob was buried with full military honors in the United States Armed Forces Cemetery at Santa Barbara, Luzon, P.I. The cemetery has been landscaped and rows of palm trees enhance its solemn beauty.
We in the company feel his loss tremendously and extend our deepest sympathy. Unfortunately we do not have his parents address. It would be greatly appreciated if our sympathy was passed on to his family whom he so often spoke of.
Feel free to write at any time for additional information or help that we might furnish.
Robert A Edenfield, 35th Infantry Commanding