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Gen John Dale Ryan

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Gen John Dale Ryan

  • Birth 10 Dec 1915 Cherokee, Cherokee County, Iowa, USA
  • Death 27 Oct 1983 San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA
  • Burial Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
  • Plot 003 A 035
  • Memorial ID 17291869

US Air Force General. He was born in Cherokee, Iowa, and graduated from Cherokee Junior College in 1934. He was selected to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in 1938 with a commission as a second lieutenant. He attended flying schools at Randolph and Kelly Fields (now Randolph and Kelly Air Force Bases), receiving his pilot wings in 1939. For the next two years he remained as a flight instructor at Kelly Field, and moved on to Midland Army Air Force, Texas, where he was the director of training and was instrumental in establishing an advanced bomber training school there. He was then assigned as an operations officer for the 2nd Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado. In February 1944, he was transferred to Italy where he commanded the 2nd Bombardment Group, losing a finger to enemy anti-aircraft fire and later became the operations officer for the 5th Bombardment Wing, 15th Air Force. In April 1945, he returned to the United States and was assigned to Midland Army Air Field as the deputy air base commander. In September 1945, we was assigned to the Air Training Command at Fort Worth and Randolph Field, Texas, remaining there until April 1946 when he assumed duties with the 58th Bombardment Wing and participated in the Bikini Atoll, Pacific Ocean, atomic weapons tests. He was the assistant chief of staff for pilots of the 58th Bombardment Wing and 8th Air Force director of operations from September 1946 to July 1948. For the next three years, he performed duties as the commander of the 509th Bombardment Group at Walker Air Force Base (now closed), New Mexico. In July 1951, he was assigned to Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, where he was the commander of the 97th Bombardment Wing and the 810th Air Division there, and the 19th Air Division at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, remaining there until June 1956. He was then transferred to Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, where he served as the director of materiel. In June 1960, he was assigned to command the 16th Air Force, Strategic Air Command, in Spain, returning to the United States in July 1961, to command the 2nd Air Force located at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. In August 1963, he was assigned to Headquarters Air Force, Washington DC, where he served as the inspector general for the Air Force. A year later, he was named vice commander in chief of Strategic Air Command and in December 1964, he was promoted to the rank of general and became the commander in chief. In February 1967, he became the commander in chief of Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He returned to Washington DC in August 1968, where he was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, and was promoted to Chief of Staff of the US Air Force in August 1969, serving in that position until he retired in 1973, with 35 years of continued military service with the US Army Air Corps and Air Force. During his military career he received an honorary doctor of laws degree on May 30, 1966, from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, and an honorary doctor of laws degree on June 5, 1967, from the University of Akron, Ohio. Among his military and foreign awards and decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit, The Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the French Croix de Guerre with palm, the Chinese Order of the Cloud and Banner 1st Class with Grand Cordon and 2nd Class, the Republic of Korea National Security Merit 1st Class, the Vietnamese National Order of Vietnam/Commander and Gallantry Cross with palm, Grand Cross, Royal Order of Phoenix (Greece), and the Grand Cross of Aeronautical Merit (Spain). Other foreign awards include the Golden Wings of the Philippine Air Force, the Chilean Military Star of the Armed Forces, Class of Great Star for Military Merit, the French Legion of Honor, Degree of Commander, and the Brazilian Order of Aeronautical Merit, Degree of Grand Official. His son, Air Force General Michael E. Ryan, also held the position of Chief of Staff of the US Air Force. He died at the Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Created by: HEE
  • Added: 4 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17291869
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gen John Dale Ryan (10 Dec 1915–27 Oct 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17291869, citing United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by HEE (contributor 46636885) .