U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Lieutenant Commander Ralph Kiely

Midshipman Ralph Kiely

Lieutenant Commander Kiely’s class ring was donated to the Naval Academy Museum by his widow, Mrs. Ralph Kiely on March 7, 1951. The ring was manufactured by J.S. McDonald Company. [1]

Lieutenant Commander Ralph Kiely was born on May 22, 1901 in New York, New York. He was nominated to the United States Naval Academy from New York. On May 12, 1911 he entered the Naval Academy as a Midshipman. During World War I, United States Naval Aviation lighter-than-air activities in the European theater began with the assignment of LT. Zachary Lansdowne (USNA 1909) and LTJG Ralph Kiely to England for dirigible pilot training in August 1917. [2] LTJG Kiely became Naval Aviator 104, completing his training in Cranwell, England on November 15, 1917. Lieutenant Kiely received a special letter of commendation from the Navy Department for his service in World War I and received France’s Legion of Honor. [3] Ralph has the knack of seeing more than one phase of a question; and being gifted with “good horse sense” and due regard for the Golden Rule, his ideas are well worth considering. While Lansdowne continued his naval career in dirigibles until his death in a crash, Kiely continued his career until retirement on battleships and cruisers. During World War II, Lieutenant Commander Kiely was recalled to active duty rising to the temporary rank of Captain. He died on April 15, 1950 in White Plains, New York at 48 years old.


[1] United States Naval Academy Museum card file of Curator James Cheevers, retrieved January 7, 2014.

[2] First Class, Lucky Bag, (Annapolis, MD: US Naval Academy, 1915), 106.

[3] James Howard Gore, American Legionnaires of France: Supplement : a Directory of the Citizens of the United States on Whom France Has Conferred Her National Order, the Legion of Honor, (Washington, D.C.: W.F. Roberts Co., 1922), 150.