Colby graduated from Western in 1935 and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. His outstanding record in military training won him a rank as a captain and he trained a division of African-American soldiers to go to battle in World War II.
Colby trained in an elite Ranger battalion in the rugged terrain of Fort Benning, Ga.
In July 1943, Colby commanded a battalion of Rangers in the Allied invasion of the shores of Sicily, battling thousands of German soldiers.
U.S. infantrymen fought bravely against enemy forces who had self-propelled artillery guns, tanks and planes.
In August 1943, Colby led his Ranger infantrymen in an offensive in the face of heavy machine gun fire and artillery from the enemy entrenched in concrete pillboxes.
Colby died as a hero leading his Rangers through the enemy defense.
"Capt. Ralph Colby was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action," the U.S. Army command reported.
Colby led a coordinated attack "against a fortified enemy hill despite heavy machine gun fire," the Army commanding general said. "Although subjected to a heavy enemy artillery barrage, Capt. Colby directed the successful defense of the U.S. position."
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