Ralph O. Wells | Obituaries
Major Ralph O. Wells, USAF (Ret) was born in Chipley, Florida. He lived in Warner Robins, Georgia since 1970. Major Wells spent over forty years in military aviation as an active flyer and in avionics support.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a flight engineer-gunner on the B-17.
Wells graduated from Carlisle Military School, attended the Citadel, obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Carolina, received a MSA degree from Georgia College, and was a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Air War College.
Major Wells was commissioned directly from civilian life as a Second Lieutenant and called to active duty. He served as the first Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) on the 20th AF Staff and flew combat support missions into Korea. He flew the B-47 and the B-52 aircraft for SAC. Wells was the first lead navigator-bombardier on B-47s to successfully make an RBS run against Marikech, Morocco from Homestead Air Force Base in 1957. He was awarded one of the first "Shacks" for a perfect bomb score from 40, 000 feet in a B-52. Major Wells was pulled from crew duty for duty in USAF Security Services as the Base Communications and Mission Maintenance Officer in Scotland. Pipe Major Daniels of the 432 Royal Engineering Regiment wrote a pipe tune, the "Captain Ralph Wells." Ralph was the President of the only Square and Compass Club in the United Kingdom. He served in the Ground Electronic Engineering Installation Agency (GEEIA) as the Deputy Director of Engineering for the Easter Region. His duties included Special Projects: On site engineering and project officer for Project Phyllis Ann (for all communications for USAFSS in Vietnam) and the first secure voice facility support of the space program at Cape Canaveral. He flew one hundred sixty eight unarmed electronic reconnaissance combat missions in Vietnam frequently as an air instructor with a price on his head, and served as a ground instructor in the 362 TEW Squadron. As the Deputy Director of Operations in the Western GEEIA Region, he was also the project officer for the polar satellite (spy) orbit communications program.
As a civilian engineer in the Air Force Logistics Command, he was the first Automatic Test Equipment Engineer for the first Foreign Military Sales laboratory (for the Egyptian government) which he developed the first multi-system flight test system. He was known as "The Daddy of the STEMS," a simulation test emitter station which evaluated EW systems prior to installation in the aircraft. The first EW Engineer to visit Egypt, and was on the systems evaluation team for EW systems used in Desert Storm.
Major Wells received numerous military decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medals (8), AF Commendation Medals (2), Presidential Unit Citation, Outstanding Unit Award (4), Combat Readiness Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/4BSS, AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Armed Service Reserve Medal w/2o1c, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, RVN Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and a GEEIA Certificate of Merit.
His parents, Lester and Ophelia Wells; and sister Dorothy Wells Shepherd, preceded him in death.
His memory will forever be treasured by his great-niece, Andrea Richbourg, Hayesville, North Carolina.
Visitation will be Friday, July 29, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at McCullough Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 29, 2011 in the chapel of McCullough Funeral Home with interment following in Magnolia Park Cemetery.