Died Nov. 20, 1989.
Ralph Edward Koon was born in Bolivar, Mo., in 1904. Entering the U.S. Military Academy in 1927 he graduated a year later, and was commissioned a second lieutenant. Assigned to the Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, He graduated from the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas in 1929.
Subsequent stations include Mitchel Field, N.Y.; Luke Field, Hawaii; Bolling Field, Washington, D.C.; Langley Field, Va.; and Westover Field, Mass. As a member of the Second Bombardment Group at Langley, which was engaged in operational testing of the YB-17, he participated in the one-stop flight from the United States to Argentina in 1938. Entering the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in 1938, General Koon graduated a year later.
At the outbreak of World War II, the general was in command of the 18th Bombardment Squadron and in February 1942 he assumed command of the 34th Bombardment Group. His overseas duty during World War II was in Australia and New Guinea where he commanded the 90th Bombardment Group.
After his return to the United States in July 1943, General Koon was assigned to the Second Air Force, later assuming command of the 46th Bombardment Operational Training Wing that was charged with all B-17 crew training in the Second Air Force.
Graduating from the first class of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1947, he spent the next year as deputy commandant of the Air War College. Attending National War College at Washington, D.C., during 1948 and 1949, upon graduation General Koon was assigned to Alaska as chief of staff of the Alaskan Air Command.
Returning to the United States, General Koon reported to Air Force headquarters at Washington, D.C. to assume duties as executive in the Office of the Director for Operations, becoming deputy director in December 1952.
Going to the Pacific Theater, on July 3, 1956 the general was appointed vice commander of Pacific Air Force, Far East Air Forces (Rear), with station at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, becoming assistant chief of staff for operations on July 1, 1957 when Headquarters Far East Air Force moved to Hawaii and was redesignated the Pacific Air Force.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Legion of Merit, Air Medal and the Chinese Cloud Banner. He is rated a command pilot.