Retired Sep. 1, 1975. Died Oct. 8, 2003.
Major General Edward Ratkovich is director of intelligence (J-2), Headquarters U.S. European Command at Stuttgart, Germany.
General Ratkovich was born in 1924, in Detroit, Mich., and completed his basic education there. He attended Western Reserve University, Ohio, and Texas Christian University. He began his military career in December 1942 when he entered aviation cadet candidate training. He entered pilot training in August 1943 and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in April 1944.
After completing B-24 transition training in December 1944, he went to Fifteenth Air Force in Italy as a bomber pilot and flew a combat tour in the European Theater of Operations with the 780th Bombardment Squadron. In August 1945 he was assigned as Squadron Adjutant, Smyrna Army Air Field, Nashville, Tenn.
He returned to Europe in February 1946 as an intelligence officer with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden, Germany. During 1947-1948 General Ratkovich held several key positions at Tullin Air Base, Vienna, Austria, including that of liaison officer with the Russian Occupation Forces. He also flew on the first mission of the Berlin airlift in 1948 and over 50 missions thereafter in C-47 aircraft until this force was relieved by the C-54 buildup.
In January 1949 General Ratkovich was assigned to Strategic Air Command and became the director of intelligence for the 7th Bombardment Wing equipped with B-36s at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. He continued to serve with SAC until 1962. During this 15-year period, General Ratkovich was the liaison officer for SAC at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, in Paris; chief, Targets Division, Eighth Air Force Headquarters, Carswell Air Force Base and, later, at Westover Air Force Base, Mass., when Eighth Air Force headquarters moved there. In 1959 and for the succeeding three years, he served as deputy director of intelligence for Eighth Air Force.
General Ratkovich left SAC in 1962 to become the director, plans and programs, Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He arrived at TAC in time for the Cuban crisis and participated in the planning for counter air operations in case the Soviets refused to withdraw their offensive missiles, which they subsequently did withdraw. From August 1964 to June 1965 he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.
He next was assigned duty in the Republic of Vietnam as director of targets in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, in Saigon. In this capacity, he was responsible for selecting the first 400 B-52 bombing targets as well as most of the areas for United States ground forces search and destroy operations. He worked primarily for General Westmoreland, who approved all B-52 targets and major ground force objectives.
He returned to the United States in August 1966 and was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served as chief, Combat Applications Group, in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, and in November 1969 became the deputy assistant chief of staff, intelligence.
General Ratkovich was reassigned in February 1972, after six years in the Pentagon, to Headquarters U.S. European Command as director of intelligence (J-2).
General Ratkovich is a command pilot. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He claims both Detroit, Mich., and Polo, Ill., as his hometowns.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective Aug. 1,1972, with date of rank July 1, 1969.