Who Was Ralph Cheli
Ralph Cheli born in San Fransisco served as the commanding officer of the 405th Bombardment Squadron Army Air Force until he was shot down. On August 18, 1943, Cheli piloted on the first low level strafing mission against Dagua Airfield, a Japanese station. He was shot down by enemy fighters and ditched off shore. Cheli survived and taken prisoner by the Japanese. He was later transported and executed at Tunnel Hill (A Japanese prison camp in Papua New Guinea) during March 3-4, 1944.
Location of Cheli Air Force Station
The Cheli Air Force Station, was located off the 710 freeway at Atlantic. Its original 450-acre base was used between World War II and the Korean War to store military aircraft equipment. Decommissioned in the 1960s, the General Service Administration continued to maintain the property, using it primarily as storage for federal agencies. Items such as equipment owned by NASA, government-seized vehicles and unused desks from federal offices were stored in one of the many warehouses located between Bandini and the 710 Freeway Cheli AFS was officially closed on November 3, 1961
During the Cold War the Cheli Air Force Station became a radar bomb scoring site. This site used various ground radars , computers, and other electronic equipment such as jammers to disrupt operations of the bomber's radar navigator. It was a defense tactic due to the Red Scare of the 50's. During this time the site was heavily known as the Los Angeles Bomb Plot #7, which began operation in 1952 and officially closed in 1960.
Cheli Air Force Closure: The Cheli Air Force station closed in 1961, due to an excess of facilities. During this time some warehouses were left for storage and some were turned into homeless shelters. An article form the Los Angeles Times in 1960 mentions that the depot had many auctions to get rid of things like typewriters, office desk and chairs.
Going back to my sleepy lagoon post the reason why a lot of people say sleepy lagoon was in the City of Bell is because practically Williams Ranch was near or perhaps at the site of the Cheli Air Force Station. The sleepy lagoon murder occurred in 1942, and Cheli Air Force station was opened in 1943.
When you think about the City of Bell, your mainly think about the land that is sandwhich in between the city of Maywood and South Gate but now we know that the land of Atlantic and Bandini belongs to them.