Home
 
About Us
 
USS 'Frisco' Memorial
 
Foundation News
 
History Of The Ship
 
Stories Of The Ship
 
Stories Of The Men
 
List of Men Who Served Aboard USS San Francisco
 
CA-38 Honor Roll
 
Ships Bell
 
USMC In The Pacific
 
Join The Foundation
 
Donations
 
Add Me To Your Database
 
Ship Photos
 
Links Of Interest
 
Contact Us

USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation
C/O Art Curtis
P.O. Box 318063
San Francisco, CA 94131-8063
415-334-0263
415-350-0531
Art Curtis: awcurtis@comcast.net

 

Keppler, Reinhart John; BM 1/c, USN

John Keppler

The President of the United States in the name of
The Congress takes pride in presenting the
MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

REINHARDT  JOHN  KEPPLER
BOATSWAIN'S MATE FIRST CLASS
UNITED STATES NAVY
for service as set forth in the following

"For extraordinary heroism and distinguished courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands, 12-13 November 1942. When a hostile torpedo plane, during a daylight air raid, crashed on the after machine-gun platform, Keppler promptly assisted in removal of the dead and, by his capable supervision of the wounded, undoubtedly helped save the lives of several shipmates who otherwise might have perished. That night, when the ship's hangar was set afire during the great battle off Savo Island, he bravely led a hose into the starboard side of the stricken area and there, without assistance and despite frequent hits from terrific enemy bombardment, eventually brought the fire under control. Later, although mortally wounded, he labored valiantly in the midst of bursting shells, persistently directing fire-fighting operations and administering to wounded personnel until he finally collapsed from loss of blood. His great personal valor, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
 
Reinhardt John Keppler, "Rheiny," to his family, friends, and shipmates, was the fourth of eight children. He grew up and attended school in  Wapato, Washington. After graduation from Wapato High School in 1935 he enlisted in the Navy.
After recruit training he served aboard the battleship
U.S.S. West Virginia  for the next four years, and rapidly advanced through the enlisted ratings to Boatswain's Mate Second Class.
Rheiny reported aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco for duty on May 27, 1940, where he advanced to Boatswain's Mate First Class on October 1, 1941, to become the leading petty officer in his division.
He served aboard his ship at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, in the Wake Island Relief Expedition, in the Air Action over Bougainville in February 1942, and in campaigns at  New Guinea. When the ship returned for a brief stay in San Francisco in May, 1942, he married Elizabeth West of San Francisco.

After escorting troop transports to Samoa, the Fiji Islands, and New Zealand, the ship returned to Pearl Harbor in late June 1942, to then depart for the Western Pacific to take part in the Guadalcanal campaign which began in August.
Rheiny's ship, the San Francisco was the flagship of the American cruiser and destroyer force that engaged a force of
Japanese warships on October 12, 1942, in the Battle of Cape Esperance, and again on November 13, in the Night Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
Reinhardt John Keppler was fatally wounded in the latter engagement when the
San Francisco was hit with shellfire from the opposing Japanese warships. Reinhardt succumbed to his massive injuries and lose of blood while the ship was returning to its base of operations in Espiritu Santos Island in the New Hebrides. For his heroism the previous afternoon of November 12th when a plane crashed into the San Francisco he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy's second highest award for valor. For his actions during the Night Battle of Guadalcanal, less than 12 hours later, in which he received fatal injuries,  he was awarded  the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.  Rheiny was buried in the military cemetery on Espiritu Santos Island until after the war, when in 1948 his body was returned to the United States and he was buried with military honors in the National Golden Gate Cemetery in San Bruno, California, on June 16, 1948.
 

U.S.S. Keppler (DD-765)
 

USS Kepplwe DD-765

     A 2,200-ton destroyer, DD-765) was launched on June 24, 1946 by Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding, San Francisco, California, and christened U.S.S. Keppler by Mrs. Elizabeth L. Keppler, widow of  Reinhardt John Keppler.
     The U.S.S. Keppler (DD-765) was commissioned and placed into service on May 23, 1947, and served on active duty in the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets until it was decommissioned on July 1, 1972.
 

 

John Keppler

 

Birth: Jan. 22, 1918Death: Nov. 15, 1942 
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Served in the United Syates Navy during World War II as a Boatswain's Mate First Class on broard the cruiser "USS San Francisco". He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery in the Solomon Islands, on November 12 and 13, 1942. His citation reads "For extraordinary heroism and distinguished courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during action against enemy Japanese forces. When a hostile torpedo plane, during a daylight air raid, crashed on the after machine-gun platform, Keppler promptly assisted in removal of the dead and, by his capable supervision of the wounded, undoubtedly helped save the lives of several shipmates who otherwise might have perished. That night, when the ship's hangar was set afire during the great battle off Savo Island, he bravely led a hose into the starboard side of the stricken area and there, without assistance and despite frequent hits from terrific enemy bombardment, eventually brought the fire under control. Later, although mortally wounded, he labored valiantly in the midst of bursting shells, persistently directing fire-fighting operations and administering to wounded personnel until he finally collapsed from loss of blood. His great personal valor, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country". (bio by: Russ Dodge)
Search Amazon.com for Reinhart John Keppler Burial:

Golden Gate National Cemetery
San Bruno
San Mateo County
California, USA
Plot: Section C, Grave 379

Back to Stories of The Men

copyright  2007 USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation

webmaster