Retired June 30, 1980. Died Sep. 18, 1996.
Major General John E. Ralph is commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
General Ralph was born in 1929, in Pomeroy, Ohio, and graduated from Bucyrus Central High School, Bucyrus, Ohio, in 1948. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He earned a master of public administration degree with a specialty in international politics and economics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University in 1959. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1964 and from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1968.
In 1952 and 1953 General Ralph attended pilot training at Goodfellow and Webb Air Force bases, Texas. He was awarded his pilot wings in January 1954 and proceeded to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for gunnery training in the F-86.
He next was transferred to the 562nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., to serve as a fighter pilot. In 1954 he went with the 562nd Squadron when, as a unit of the 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing, it moved to Etain Air Base, France. In September 1957 he entered the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University under the Air Force Institute of Technology's graduate studies program.
In June 1959 General Ralph was assigned to the U.S. Military Academy as an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences. In addition to his normal duties as teacher, he managed the academy's national debate tournaments for two years and was course director for the studies of international relations. He attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1963-64. General Ralph was assigned as an air operations adviser to the Saudi Arabian Air Force in July 1964.
He was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in July 1965, where he served in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, first with the Long-Range Plans Division and then in the Directorate of Doctrine, Concepts and Objectives. General Ralph entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in August 1967 and after graduation in July 1968 attended F-4 combat crew training. He next was assigned as the deputy director for operations, 831st Air Division, George Air Force Base, Calif.
In May 1969 General Ralph was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam to serve as assistant deputy commander for operations of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing of Da Nang Air Base. In November 1969 he moved to Tan Son Nhut Air Base as chief of the Current Operations Division in the Seventh Air Force Tactical Air Control Center.
He returned to the United States in May 1970 and become the director of operations, 479th Tactical Fighter Wing, at George Air Force Base. In March 1971 General Ralph was transferred to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., where he was vice commander and then commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, which maintained a deployed force at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, from March 1972 through September 1973, and participated in the air war in Southeast Asia until its conclusion.
General Ralph joined the Squadron Officer School staff at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, in June 1973 as special assistant for plans and programs. He later become vice commandant and in March 1974 was appointed commandant.
In July 1974 General Ralph returned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, at Headquarters U.S. Air Force as director of doctrine, concepts and objectives. Major products of his tenure include the long-range technology study, New Horizons II, The History of Strategic Arms Competition and net operational assessments of both the Warsaw Pact and North Korea. General Ralph also served as special assistant to the chief of staff for the Airborne Warning and Control System, operational and doctrinal matters, from November 1975 through April 1976. Later, from November 1975 through August 1966, he was special assistant for the advanced tanker cargo aircraft. In September 1976 General Ralph was assigned duty as senior military adviser to the director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. During the later months of his tour with the agency, he served as executive secretary of the U.S. SALT Delegation in Geneva, Switzerland.
General Ralph assumed his present duty as commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces on Jan. 2, 1979.
His contributions to defense literature include: Readings in International Relations published by the Department of Social Sciences, West Point, N.Y., 1962 and 1963; "Tactical Air Systems and the New Technologies," in The Other Arms Race, by Kemp, et al., Lexington Books, Lexington, Mass., 1974; and "Professional Identity in a Plural World: The Focus of Junior Officer Education in the United States Air Force," in The System for Educating Military Officers in the U.S., edited by Lawrence J. Korb, Occasional Paper No. 9 of the International Studies Association, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1976.
General Ralph has flown 109 combat missions in Southeast Asia, 15 of which were over North Vietnam. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with "V" device and oak leaf cluster; and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 1st Class.
He was promoted to the grade of major general Feb. 24, 1978, with date of rank July 1, 1974.