Retired June 1, 1994.
Brigadier General Ralph H. Graham is director of special programs, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Acquisition, Washington, D.C.
General Graham was born in 1941, in Vallejo, Calif., and grew up in western Colorado, where he graduated from high school in 1959. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964 and a master's degree in management and administration from Central Michigan University in 1988. The general completed Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School in 1971, Armed Forces Staff College in 1974 and the National Defense College o Canada in 1981. He also completed the Executive Seminar of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Texas in 1987.
He enlisted in the Air Force in June 1959 and received an Air Force appointment to the Air Force Academy the following year. Upon graduation from the academy in June 1964, he entered pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., and received his wings in August 1965. After completing RF-4C combat-crew training, he reported to his first operational assignment with the 32nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France. In September 1966 his squadron moved to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, where he flew 319 combat missions, including 107 over North Vietnam as an RF-4C aircraft commander.
The general returned to the United States in December 1967 and flew F-1 01B's with the 59th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and F-106s with the 460th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Kingsley Field, Ore. He then attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School from January 1971 to December 1971. In January 1972 he was assigned to the 3246th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., as a test pilot. There he flew F-104s, T-38s and all models of the F-4, including the Navy F-4B. During this time General Graham was the project pilot responsible for testing a wide variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and other munitions, including the Maverick, Sparrow, Sidewinder, electro-optical and laser-guided weapons, and experimental laser-designator systems.
General Graham attended Armed Forces Staff College from January 1974 to July 1974. He then was assigned to the 4900th Test Group, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where he flew the F-4D, RF-4C and T-38, testing numerous weapons and systems for the Air Force, Army and Navy.
In January 1976 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as the F-15 program element monitor. From June 1979 to August 1980 he was executive officer to the deputy chief of staff for research, development and acquisition.
After graduation from the National Defense College of Canada in July 1981, he was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center Organization, Henderson, Nev., where he served as commander from June 1983 until April 1985. He then moved to Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as deputy program director for the F-16 System Program Office. In April 1987 he became program director for the Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance System Program Office and commander of the Air Force Electronic Combat Office, an inter-command organization with personnel from Air Force Systems Command and Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Concurrently, he was chairman of the Joint Coordinating Group for electronic warfare for the joint logistics commanders. In July 1989 he became program director for the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest multinational program in the Department of Defense. He assumed his current position in August 1992.
The general is a command pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours in 31 different aircraft, primarily fighters. As one of the first pilots to fly the F-117 stealth fighter, he was deeply involved in the testing and initial fielding of that weapon system. His military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 21 oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
He was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 1, 1989, with same date of rank.