Retired. Died Nov. 1, 1969.
Ralph Hudson Wooten was born at Independence, Miss., in 1893. He graduated from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas with a bachelor of science degree in 1916.
On Aug. 8, 1917, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry in the Regular Army and that same date was promoted to first lieutenant. His first assignment was at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and in November 1917 he transferred to Camp Greene, N.C., for service with the 59th Infantry.
In January 1918 he began ground school training at the School of Military Aeronautics at Austin, Texas, and later transferred to Kelly Field, Texas, where he completed his flight training in July 1918. He then served as a flight instructor at Love Field, Texas, until November of that year when he was transferred to Brindley Field, Long Island, N.Y. After a short tour of duty at that station, he went to Ellington Field, Texas and in May 1919 became acting air officer of the Hawaiian Department, with headquarters at Fort Shafter.
On July 1, 1920, he transferred to the Air Service and that same date was promoted to captain.
Returning to the United States in July 1922, he became post adjutant at Langley Field, Va. He entered the Air Service Tactical School at Langley Field in October 1923 and after graduating the following June was assigned to the Supply Division in the Office of the Chief of Air Service at Washington. He later became chief of Materiel Procurement and Transportation in that office. In July 1928 he was transferred to Fort Crockett, Texas, for duty as an operations officer of the Third Attack Group.
A year later he went to Santiago, Chile, as military attache. During this tour of duty he received the official commendation of the State Department for his cooperation in seeking two lost foreign planes. He also made a number of flights over unexplored and uncharted routes in the southern part of South America, including Patagonia and Tierre del Fuego.
In July 1933 he returned to the United States to take the two-year course at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. After graduating in 1935, he served with General Headquarters Air Force at Langley Field, Va. In August 1936 he entered the Army War College at Washington, and following graduating in 1937 remained in Washington for service in the Operations and Training Division of the War Department General Staff.
In August 1938 he was again appointed Military Attache to Chile and Bolivia, with station at Santiago, Chile. While serving in this capacity, he was commended for his part in rescue work following the devastating earthquakes in southern Chile in 1939. He also served as a representative of the U.S. Government during important conferences with other countries on defense plans for the Western Hemisphere.
In July 1941 he returned to Washington for duty in the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department General Staff. The following September he was appointed air officer with General Headquarters of the Army at Washington.
In March 1942 he was assigned to the Army Air Force Technical Training Command, with station at Miami Beach, Fla., where he organized and commanded technical training activities including the Air Corps Officer Candidate School, Air Corps Officer Training School, Basic Training centers numbers Four and Nine, and the Civilian Mechanic Training schools in that area.
In January 1943 he went to the Caribbean Air Command as commanding general of the Sixth Air Force Service Command and as chief of staff of the Sixth Air Force. He assumed command of the Sixth Air Force the following September, and in May 1944 was designated commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces in the South Atlantic.
He returned to the United States in January 1946 for duty in the Office of the Foreign Liquidation Commission of the State Department at Washington.
In April 1947 he was appointed commanding general of the Seventh Air Force at Hickam Field, Hawaii, and remained in that position when the Seventh was redesignated Pacific Air Command the following December.
General Wooten has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal. His foreign decorations include "Orden el Merito" in the grades of Official, Cemmendador and Gran Official (Chile); Orden del Merito Militar (Cuba); Condecoracion "abdon Calderon" (Ecuador); "Orden de Boyaca" in the grade of Gran Official (Colombia); and "Orden Militar de Ayacucho" (Peru).
He is rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer