Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Ralph

Last Name: Alexander

Birthplace: Campbell, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Clonts

Date of Birth: 14 September 1897

Date of Death: 15 July 1970

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served: 1918 - 1948
Ralph Clonts Alexander

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1918

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Ralph Clonts Alexander
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Ralph Clonts Alexander was born on 14 September 1897 in Campbell, TX.

He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from Ohio and graduated in the Class of 1918. After graduation, he served in the USS Virginia and in the USS Salem, until 1922. Following brief duty in USS Marcus, he served as Aide and Flag Lieutenant on the staff of the Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, with the USS Charleston as flagship. In late 1922, he became Executive Officer of the USS Melvin.

In the summer of 1923, Alexander reported to the Naval Academy for two years. He returned to sea in 1924 in USS Tennessee. His next assignment was Aide and Communications Officer, Staff of Commander, Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet. In 1927, he had similar duty on the staff of Commander-in-Chief, Battle Fleet. From 1928 until the summer of 1930, he had a second tour of duty at the Naval Academy. Following this, he reported as Executive Officer of the USS Dorsey.

In April 1932, he reported as Aide and Flag Lieutenant on the staff of the Commander, Destroyers, Battle Force. He returned to the U.S. in the summer of 1934 and was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In June 1937, he became Commanding Officer of the USS Cassin. The French Government awarded him the Legion of Honor for service in this command. He next spent a year as a student at the Naval War College at Newport. In 1940, he began a three-year tour of duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. For his services in this assignment, he received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon from the Secretary of the Navy.

In June 1943, Alexander reported to the Bethlehem Steel Company, San Francisco, CA, to fit out the USS Reno and assumed command of that vessel when commissioned in December 1943. He served as Captain of the Reno until February 1945. For his services aboard that cruiser, he received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon. He was also awarded the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit.

From April to October 1945, he served on the staff of the Naval War College. He then returned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for duty. His last assignment was Chief of the Fleet Maintenance Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

He retired on 1 June 1948.

Major Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Legion of Merit with Combat Valor Device
Letter of Commendation with Authorization to Wear Ribbon (2 Awards)
Legion of Honor (France)

Navy Cross Citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Ralph Clonts Alexander (NSN: 0-17101), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Light Cruiser U.S.S. RENO (CL-96), in action with enemy forces from 14 to 24 October 1944. On 14 October 1944 during a heavy enemy torpedo plane attack on our forces he fought his ship so effectively that she shot down six torpedo planes notwithstanding damage done by an enemy aircraft on his vessel; and on 24 October while employing his ship in the rescue and salvage operations for an aircraft carrier he maintained his ship in a position where she greatly aided the damaged carrier in spite of intense heat and smoke and in the face of continued major explosions. During this same operation he maneuvered his ship so as to repel attacking enemy aircraft and destroyed at least two of these aircraft. During these two actions his calm determination and courage were a source of great inspiration to his officers and men and spurred them to great efforts in the face of gravest danger. His courage and skill were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 340 (July 1945)
Action Date: 14-24 October 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Captain
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Reno (CL-96)

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral Ralph Clonts Alexander died 15 July 1970 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD. Funeral services were held in St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Jamestown, RI, and burial in Jamestown followed.


Ralph Alexander was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, of Washington, DC; two sons, Captain W. H. Alexander (USNA 1944) and Captain Richard G. Alexander (USNA 1945); a daughter, Mrs. Paul Grimes; and seven grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 3341   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image