Ralph H. Spanjer
|Ralph H. Spanjer|
September 20, 1920|
Hillside, New Jersey
|Died||February 8, 1999
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1941–1978|
|Commands held||Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
|Battles/wars||World War II
|Awards||Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Ralph H. Spanjer (September 20, 1920 – February 8, 1999) was a Major General in the United States Marine Corps. He went on to serve as Superintendent of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas and President of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin.
Spanjer was born on September 20, 1920 in Hillside, New Jersey. He would attend New York University. Spanjer would also marry and had three children, as well as a stepson. He died of cancer at his home in Delafield on February 8, 1999.
After originally joining the United States Navy in 1941, Spanjer joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1942. He went on to serve as a fighter pilot in World War II. During that time, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
During the Korean War, he flew missions with pilots that included John Glenn, who later became the first American to orbit Earth in space and a U.S. Senator. Spanjer was awarded a second Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during the war.
Spanjer flew helicopters during the Vietnam War, serving in assault landings and medical evacuations. During the final years of the war, he served in other high-ranking positions. He was twice awarded the Legion of Merit, including one with a Combat Valor device, during his service in the Vietnam War.
He was awarded a third Legion of Merit before retiring from the Marine Corps.
Spanjer served as Superintendent of the Marine Military Academy for six years. After stops in North Carolina and Alaska, he accepted the position of President of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in 1994. During his tenure, he oversaw a $5 million renovation, the merger of the Academy with Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and organized a visit by former U.S. President George H. W. Bush.
Awards and decorations
During his military career he was awarded:
|Naval Aviator insignia|
|1st row||Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars and "V" Device||Distinguished Flying Cross with Gold Star||Air Medal with three silver award stars|
|2nd row||Navy Unit Commendation with Gold Star||Navy Presidential Unit Citation with one Star||Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster||American Defense Service Medal|
|3rd row||American Campaign Medal||Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four service stars||World War II Victory Medal||Navy Occupation Service Medal|
|4th row||National Defense Service Medal with one Star||Korean Service Medal with two Service Stars||Vietnam Service Medal with four Service stars||Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal|
|5th row||United Nations Korea Medal||Presidential Unit Citation (Korea)||Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation||Vietnam Campaign Medal|
- "Yearly Chronologies of the United States Marine Corps - 1999". United States Marine Corps History Division. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Ralph H. Spanjer". Military Times.com. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Ralph H. Spanjer obituary". Chicago Tribune. 1999-02-12. Retrieved 2012-03-02.