Ryan, John D. (John Dale), 1915-1983

Alternative names
Birth 1915-12-10
Death 1983-10-27

Biographical notes:

John Dale Ryan (1915-1983) was the Seventh Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He was born in Cherokee, Iowa, where he graduated from Cherokee Junior College before entering the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated from West Point in 1938, and attended flight schools at Randolph and Kelly Fields, Texas, receiving his pilot''s wings in 1939. During the early years of World War II, he served as a flight instructor and in training roles at Kelly Field and at Midland Army Air Field, Texas. He also served as Operations Officer for the 2nd Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado. In February, 1944, he was deployed to the European Theater, and served in Italy as Commander of the 2nd Bombardment Group, and later as Operations Officer for the 5th Bombardment Wing, 15th Air Force. Upon his return to the U.S., he would again serve briefly at Midland Air Field Deputy Air Base Commander. In April, 1946, he was assigned to the 58th Bombardment Wing, where he participated in the atomic weapons tests at Bikini Atoll. Ryan served in numerous command roles at Air Force bases in Texas and New Mexico. In June, 1956, he was named Director of Materiel for the Strategic Air Command (SAC), and four years later, assumed command of the SAC''s 16th Air Force in Spain. In July, 1961, he was named Commander of the 2nd Air Force at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. Beginning in August, 1963, Ryan assumed a series of progressively responsible commands, starting with his appointment as Inspector General of the U.S. Air Force at Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. One year later, he was named Vice Commander of the SAC, and later became its Commander in Chief. In February, 1967, he was assigned as Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces. He was named Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force in August, 1968, and Chief of Staff in August, 1969. He held the position until his retirement from active duty on August 1, 1973. Ryan was a highly decorated career Air Force officer. Among the numerous distinctions he received were the following: Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force) with three oak leaf clusters; Distinguished Service Medal (Army); Silver Star with oak leaf cluster; Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster; Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters; Purple Heart; French Croix de Guerre with Palm; Chinese Order of the Cloud and Banner, 1st Class with Grand Cordon, and 2d Class; Korean National Security Merit First Class; the Vietnamese National Order of Vietnam/Commander and Gallantry Cross with Palm; Grand Cross, Royal Order of Phoenix (Greece); and Grand Cross of Aeronautical Merit (Spain). Additional foreign distinctions included the Golden Wings of the Philippine air force; Chilean Military Star of the Armed Forces, Class of Great Star for Military Merit; French Legion of Honor, Degree of Commander; and the Brazilian Order of Aeronautical Merit, Degree of Grand Official. He held honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from both Creighton University and the University of Akron (Ohio). He died on October 27, 1973.

From the description of Ryan, John D. (John Dale), 1915-1983 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10678297


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