Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Roger

Last Name: Ramey

Birthplace: Sulphur Springs, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Home of Record: Denton, TX
Middle Name: Maxwell

Date of Birth: 09 September 1905

Date of Death: 04 March 1963

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served: 1928 - 1957
Roger Maxwell Ramey

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1928

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Roger Maxwell Ramey
Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force

Roger Maxwell Ramey was born on 9 September 1905 in Sulphur Springs, TX, and grew up in Denton, TX, a small town north of Fort Worth. He graduated from North Texas State Teachers College in Denton but had an interest in studying medicine.

He joined the Texas National Guard and was a Sergeant in the Denton unit when Captain Peter Roberts insisted that Ramey take a competitive examination for possible appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. He secured the appointment and entered West Point in 1924. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Cavalry when he graduated in 1928.

During 1928-29, Ramey received pilot training at the Air Corps Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, TX, and the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, TX. He transferred from the Calvary to the Air Corps on 21 November 1929, and served for the next 5 years at Kelly and Brooks Fields, and with the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, MI.

From 1934-39, Ramey was an Instructor at Randolph Field, TX; he was promoted to First Lieutenant in September 1938. In March 1939, he was transferred to Wheeler Field, HI, to serve as Intelligence Officer of the 18th Pursuit Group (Interceptor). In June 1939, he was promoted to Captain and, in July, became Commanding Officer of the 19th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) at Wheeler Field. He was made Executive Officer of 18th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in April 1940, also at Wheeler Field. Later that year, Ramey became Commanding Officer of the 42nd Bombardment Squadron (Medium) at Hickam Field, HI, and, in January 1941 was promoted to Major. Ramey was Operations Officer of the 18th Bomb Wing at Hickam Field (Pearl Harbor) during the Japanese surprise attack on 7 December 1941. Ramey tried to save our planes while Japanese planes strafed and bombed hangars, airplanes, and personnel; for that he was awarded a special commendation. 

Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Ramey was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and named the Plans and Training Officer of 7th Bomber Command at Hickam Field. In March 1942, he was promoted to Colonel and made Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Seventh Air Force, at Hickam Field.

Colonel Ramey became Commanding Officer of the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) at Port Moresby, New Guinea, in October 1942. The bombing attacks of the 43rd repelled the Japanese thrust at Port Moresby and brought about their expulsion from Papua, New Guinea. In early 1943, he became Chief of Staff of the 5th Bomber Command at Port Moresby and, in the Battle of Bismarck Sea in March, Ramey directed bombing attacks that resulted in a loss of 22 Japanese ships. On 19 April 1943, he assumed command of the 5th Bomber Command after its Commander, Brigadier General Howard K. Ramey (no relation) [Honoree Record ID 3299] was killed during a reconnaissance mission. [Ramey AFB in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico was named after Howard K. Ramey, not Roger M. Ramey.] Roger Ramey was promoted to Brigadier General on 1 July 1943.

After he took command, the 5th Bomber Command directed extensive bombing operations in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and other sections of the Southwest Pacific. Ramey was charged with planning and directing the bombing and strafing attacks during the campaign which resulted in the capture of Lae. Ramey also conducted the devastating raids which crushed the strong Japanese base at Wewak, and the heavy accurate bombing of critical targets in the area under land attack by Allied Forces. Ramey was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal for these operations.

Ramey was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor) for extraordinary heroism while participating in an attack on the Japanese base at Rabaul, New Britain. As command pilot leading a flight against the base in his B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber, (then) Colonel Ramey remained at the attack scene for over two hours, making 20 passes over the target, dropping flares on each run, and thus drawing attention of searchlights and diverting much of the anti-aircraft fire from other bombers to his own.

During December 1943 - January 1944, Ramey returned to the U.S. and assumed command of the 38th Flying Training Wing at Kirtland Field, NM. In May 1944, Ramey became Commanding General of the 314th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy) at Peterson Field, CO. Shortly after that, he was made Chief of Staff, 21st Bomber Command at Peterson Field; in November 1944, the 21st was moved to Guam and helped plan and direct B-29 operations against mainland Japan from the Marianas.

Ramey spent most of 1945 in the Pacific Theater of Operations. In January 1945, he replaced Major General Curtis LeMay as Commander of the 20th Bomber Command and 58th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy) in the China-Burma-India Theater, based in Kharagpur, India. In April, the 58th Bombardment Wing moved to the Marianas Islands where it operated in raids against Japan until the end of the war. In moving the bomb wing 3600 miles from India to the Marianas, not a single plane was lost. (After the war, Ramey was in charge of Operation Sunset, which flew thousands of soldiers home from the Pacific islands. Again, the safety record was perfect.) In November, Ramey's 58th Bombardment Wing returned to March Field in Riverside, CA. 

In 1946, General Ramey was assigned to temporary duty as Commander of Task Group 1.5, the Army Air Forces unit responsible for dropping the ABLE bomb (named Gilda and bearing the likeness of Rita Hayworth, star of the 1946 movie Gilda) during Operation Crossroads; the code name for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. On 1 July 1946, Ramey and Colonel William H. Blanchard, Commander of the 509th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and Task Unit 1.5.1, flew aboard the B-29 'Dave's Dream' piloted by Major Woodrow P. Swancutt for the ABLE drop. The 23-kiloton bomb exploded 520 feet above a fleet of 94 test vessels arrayed in Bikini Atoll, but missed its intended target by over 1,800 feet. (The miss resulted in a government investigation of the B-29 bomber's flight crew. Eventually, it was determined that a flaw in the bomb's tail stabilizer had caused the miss; the flight crew was not at fault.) Although the atomic bomb inflicted heavy damage on elements of the fleet, only five ships were sunk during Test ABLE. At the conclusion of Operation Crossroads in August, Ramey returned to the 58th Bombardment Wing which moved to Fort Worth Army Air Field, TX, in September 1946.

The Eighth Air Force was reactivated at Fort Worth Army Air Field (renamed Carswell Air Force Base in January 1948) on 1 November 1946 and Ramey's 58th Bombardment Wing was merged into it. As a result, he was briefly made Chief of Staff of the Eighth under Major General Clements McMullen. Brig. Gen. Ramey assumed full Command of the Eighth Air Force in January 1947, when McMullen became Deputy Chief of Staff of the Strategic Air Command.

The Roswell New Mexico UFO Incident

On the afternoon of 8 July 1947, 1st Lieutenant Walter Haut, Public Information Officer at Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) in Roswell, NM, issued a press release (on the orders of RAAF Commander Colonel William Blanchard) stating that personnel from the Field's 509th Bomb Group had recovered a crashed "flying disc" from a ranch near Roswell, sparking intense media interest. The following day, the press reported that the Commander of the Eighth Air Force, Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, stated that, in fact, a radar-tracking balloon had been recovered by RAAF personnel, not a "flying disc." An ensuing press conference featured debris from the crashed object that seemed to confirm the weather balloon description. This case was quickly forgotten and almost completely ignored, even by UFO researchers, for more than 30 years.

However, since the late 1970s, the incident has been the subject of intense controversy and conspiracy theories. The U. S. military upholds that what was actually recovered was debris from an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to a classified program named "Mogul." But many UFO proponents argue that a crashed alien craft and bodies were recovered, and that the military engaged in a cover up. The event ranks as one of the most publicized and controversial alleged UFO incidents and has made the name Roswell synonymous with UFOs. During his lifetime, Ramey continued to assert that the debris was from a balloon.

Ramey was nominated for promotion to Major General in the fall of 1947; he was also awarded the Legion of Merit for his role in Operation Crossroads. In 1948, the Eighth Air Force began its conversion from the B-29 bomber to the B-36 bomber. In January 1948, Ramey received his promotion to Major General from President Truman. In the spring of 1948, he repeated his role from 1946's Operation Crossroads by directing Air Force units in Operation Sandstone, the new A-bomb tests on Eniwetok Atoll. In June, he attended his 20th anniversary class reunion at West Point. In August 1948, Ramey led a flight of 135 B-29 bombers in a massive display of 700 planes over New York's new Idlewild Airport (now JFK).  In December 1949, Ramey was given the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce's "Man of the Year" award for organizing rescue efforts during a disastrous Fort Worth flood earlier in the year.

In 1950, Ramey was named Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. A short time later he became Director of Operations and, in announcing his appointment, the Air Force Times described him this way.  "...General Ramey has a quick, incisive mind, the habit of getting immediately at the nub of a problem and of expressing decision in a few, simple words, embellished by a fabulous sense of humor. Air officers who served with him in World War II are still repeating with chuckles some of his classic, always wise, but often unprintable comments on unit problems." 

In 1951, Ramey took on additional duty as a member of the Military Liaison Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington. In January 1953, he testified before Congress regarding air accidents and Air Force plans for more radar surveillance.

In the spring of 1954, Ramey was awarded the third star of a Lieutenant General and assumed command of the Fifth Air Force under Far East Air Force, at Osan Air Base, Korea. A few months later, Fifth Air Force moved to Nagoya, Japan. Ramey was credited with rebuilding the Fifth Air Force into a major unit as he had done with the Eighth Air Force in Fort Worth. On 20 August 1955, Ramey was decorated by South Korean President Syngman Rhee.

In 1956, Ramey was named Deputy Commander of the Continental Air Defense Command and Vice Commander of the Air Defense Command, at Ent AFB, CO. He eventually became Commander of the Air Defense Command but, due to a heart attack in September 1956, it was only for a short time.

Lieutenant General Ramey retired from the Air Force on 31 January 1957, due to his heart problems.

Medals, Awards & Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Army & Air Force Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Medal
American Theater Campaign Medal
Asia-Pacific Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Command Pilot Badge

Ramey also received a Special Commendation for his actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; was personally decorated by South Korean President Syngman Rhee; and received many other medals and awards, both from the U.S. and foreign countries.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis)

Colonel (Air Corps) Roger Maxwell Ramey (ASN: 0-17231), United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a B-17 Heavy Bomber in the Commanding Officer, 43d Bombardment Group (H), FIFTH Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 1 February 1943, while participating in an attack on the Japanese base at Rabaul, New Britain. As command pilot leading a flight against the base, Colonel Ramey remained at the scene of attack for over two hours, making 20 passes over the target, dropping flares on each run, and thus drawing attention of searchlights and diverting much of the anti-aircraft fire from other bombers to his own. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by Colonel Ramey on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 5th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, General Orders No. 17 (1943)


In December 1949, Ramey was given the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce's "Man of the Year" award for organizing rescue efforts during a disastrous Fort Worth flood earlier that year.

In Retirement

After his retirement, Ramey became Vice President of Commercial Standard Insurance Company. In 1958, he was hired by Northrup Aircraft as Corporate Vice President in charge of its district offices in Washington, Dayton, Omaha, Ogden, Huntsville, and Colorado Springs. In January 1958, he was appointed by the Governor of Texas to the Board of Regents of North Texas State College, his old alma mater (now the University of North Texas). In September 1960, he became president of Permanent Filter Company in Los Angeles and retired from there in July 1962. 

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General Roger Maxwell Ramey died on 4 March 1963 at the Veterans Hospital in Long Beach, CA. He is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Denton, Denton County, TX.

General Ramey was survived by his second wife, Eunice Latane Worsham Ramey, whom he married in December 1950; and by two children; Kent, 11, and Mary Latane, 5.


Honoree ID: 3300   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image