Ray A. Messanelli's service record states that he was a member of the Navy who joined the armed forces before the start of the war. He was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross. This medal is awarded for acts of heroism beyond what is required for the Silver Star medal, but which do not quite qualify for a Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest medal that an American soldier can be awarded during a time of war.
New York State Archives. New York (State). Education Dept. Division of Archives and History. World War I veterans' service data and photographs, 1917-1938. Series A0412-78, Box 14, Folder 4.
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