Retired June 1, 1989.
Major General Ralph E. Spraker is vice commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
General Sprakerwas born in 1933, in Aberdeen, Idaho. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Utah State University in 1955. The general completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1974.
He entered the Air Force in March 1956 with a commission as a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. After navigator training at Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas, in May 1957 and upgrade navigator-bombardier training at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., in October 1957, General Spraker was assigned to the 45th Bombardment Squadron at Schilling Air Force Base, Kan., as a B-47 navigator. He transferred with the squadron to Forbes Air Force Base, Kan., in June 1960. In September 1964 the general was assigned as a navigator with the 715th Bombardment Squadron, Pease Air Force Base, N.H.
After completing Minuteman missile training in March 1966, General Spraker transferred to the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. While there he served successively as a missile combat crew commander, operations branch officer, wing standardization chief and commander of the 490th Strategic Missile Squadron.
In March 1970 General Spraker was assigned to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as an EC-121 navigator and operations training officer with the 554th Reconnaissance Squadron. He flew on 86 combat missions over Southeast Asia, accumulating more than 900 combat hours.
The general assumed command of the 321st Strategic Missile Squadron, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., in January 1971. He transferred to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in June 1972 as chief of the Missile Division.
Upon graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in June 1974, he became commander of the 341st Combat Support Group. In December 1975 General Spraker was assigned as vice commander of the 44th Strategic Missile Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and in June 1977 assumed command of the wing. He transferred to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., in June 1978 to command the 351st Strategic Missile Wing.
In June 1980 General Spraker became commander of the 3901st Strategic Missile Evaluation Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. He returned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command in June 1981 as assistant deputy chief of staff, operations and plans. In October 1981 he was assigned as deputy chief of staff for space, warning and surveillance systems at SAC headquarters.
General Spraker became the first commander of the 1st Space Wing upon its activation at Peterson Air Force Base Jan. 1, 1983. In June 1985 the general was assigned as chief of staff, North American Aerospace Defense Command and Air Force Space Command. With the activation of the U.S. Space Command in September 1985, he became the assistant chief of staff. In April 1986 he relinquished the duties of chief of staff, NORAD, and in July, the duties of assistant chief of staff for U.S. SPACECOM. General Spraker assumed his present position in October 1986.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and Vietnam Service Medal. The general wears the Master Navigator Badge, Master Missile Badge and Senior Space Badge.
He was promoted to major general May 1, 1985, with date of rank March 1, 1981.