Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Ralph

Last Name: Mitchell

Birthplace: New Britain, CT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Johnson

Date of Birth: 25 September 1891

Date of Death: 31 May 1970

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served:
Ralph Johnson Mitchell

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Lieutenant General Ralph Johnson Mitchell
U.S. Marine Corps, USNA Class of 1915

Ralph Johnson Mitchell was born on 25 September 1891 in New Britain, CT.

He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with the Class of 1915. His first duty assignment, in Guam, lasted until after the World War I Armistice was signed. In 1919, he joined the Third Marine Brigade.

In 1920, he was assigned to flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in June 1921. His first assignment as an aviator was at NAS, Guam. He returned to the U.S. in 1923 with duty in the Aviation Section, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC.

From September 1926 to June 1928, he was successively (1) a student at the Army Air Service Tactical School, Langley Field, VA, and (2) a student at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Upon graduation, he became Commander, Aircraft Squadrons, West Coast Expeditionary Force, NAS, San Diego, CA. In December 1929, he took command of Air Squadrons with the Second Marine Brigade in Nicaragua and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also received a special medal from the President of Nicaragua for his services.

After leaving Nicaragua, he was assigned command of Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force. He attended the Naval War College, Newport, in June 1932. His next assignment was duty at Headquarters Marine Corps in the Major General Commandant's Department.

He took command of Aircraft Two, San Diego, in November 1935, and participated in fleet exercises aboard the USS Lexington and USS Ranger; where he was active in developing carrier aircraft operations. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps as Director of Aviation in March 1939. Following the outbreak of World War II, in April 1942 he was given additional duty as Assistant to the Commandant (Aviation). For his outstanding services in this capacity, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

From November 1943 to March 1944, as Commander of Aircraft, Solomons Island, he planned and executed air actions against Rabaul on New Britain, Bougainville, and Green Islands that knocked out five airstrips and the Port of Rabaul, making negligible the value of that crossroads as a supply center. As Commander, Aircraft of the Northern Solomons area from June to November 1944, he provided close support to Allied land and naval forces on Bougainville, New Britain, New Hanover, New Ireland, and adjacent waters. The First Wing, under his direction, provided air support for operations in the Philippines.

For directing Marine and allied air activity in the South Pacific, he earned the Distinguished Service Medals from both the Army and the Navy, and a Gold Star in lieu of his second Legion of Merit. He was also awarded the British Companion of the Order of the Bath by the New Zealand Government, whose aviation units were under Mitchell's command in the Northern Solomons.

In August 1945, he became Commander, Marine Corps Air Base, Cherry Point, NC. In July of 1946, he assumed duties as Commanding General, Second Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point. He remained in this position until December 1946, when he became Commanding General, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

He retired from active duty in May 1948.

Major Medals & Awards

Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
Distinguished Service Medal (Navy)
Legion of Merit (2 Awards)
Distinguished Flying Cross
British Companion of the Order of the Bath (New Zealand)

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General Ralph Johnson Mitchell died on 31 May 1970 at the San Diego Naval Hospital. A memorial service was held at the North Island Chapel. After cremation, his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean from an airplane.


General Mitchell was survived by his widow, Belle Thompson Mitchell, of Coronado, CA; a son, Ralph J. Mitchell, Jr., of Baltimore, MD; and six grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 3357   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image