Ralph H. Spanjer

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Ralph H. Spanjer
Ralph H. Spanjer.jpg
Born (1920-09-20)September 20, 1920
Hillside, New Jersey
Died February 8, 1999(1999-02-08) (aged 78)
Delafield, Wisconsin
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1941–1978
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
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.[1]

Biography[edit]

Spanjer was born on September 20, 1920 in Hillside, New Jersey.[2] He would attend New York University. Spanjer would also marry and had three children, as well as a stepson.[3] He died of cancer at his home in Delafield on February 8, 1999.

Career[edit]

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[edit]

During his military career he was awarded:[4]

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
V
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Silver star
Silver star
Silver star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yearly Chronologies of the United States Marine Corps - 1999". United States Marine Corps History Division. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  2. ^ "Ralph H. Spanjer". Military Times.com. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  3. ^ "Ralph H. Spanjer obituary". Chicago Tribune. 1999-02-12. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  4. ^ slsp.manpower.usmc.mil