Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day Salute: Ralph B. Pierce

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm again posting my Veterans Day Salutes to my family.

During World War II, Ralph Bailey Pierce (1917-1984) served in the U.S. Army Air Corp, which later became the U.S. Air Force. Today he has grandchildren proudly serving in the armed forces. The following information about his service comes from his daughter Judith Pierce Croxton, who formerly was the director of Business Operations for the 20th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force.

Ralph joined the U.S. Army Air Corp on a Wednesday and he received a draft notice on the following Friday. In August 1941 he left his home in Mobile, Alabama, to travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for two weeks of training. Ralph was stationed at Craig Field, Selma, Alabama, as a supply sergeant. Ralph’s first military paycheck was for $15 after a deduction of $6 for Post Exchange checks.

In the 380th school squadron of 35, Ralph made steady advancements, even to the point of being promoted once a month. He became a staff sergeant in seven months.

There was an added incentive. Ralph could not marry Gay McKeough until he was at least a staff sergeant. On July 1, 1942, Ralph obtained that rank and on October 3, 1942, Ralph and Gay were married in a beautiful wedding in Prichard, Alabama. Gay then joined Ralph and they lived on the air base in Selma.

During the 2 1/2 years that Ralph and Gay lived in Selma, Gay worked on the base keeping cadet and officer flying times. She also served as private secretary to the base operations officer.

In 1944 Ralph received an overseas assignment to the Azores Islands. He was an ordinance supply
officer. While in the Azores, he made the rank of technical sergeant. Gay returned to Saraland and worked for her uncle, Samuel Powe’s Allied Detective Agency and with Family Reserve Insurance Company (later changed to Liberty National).

Ralph returned in 1945 and was discharged from the service after “4 years, 7 months, 26 days and 14
Lagens Field in the Azores in early 1944. U.S. operations
on the Azores during World War II were secret for years.
hours” to quote Ralph. Gay met Ralph in Manchester, New Hampshire, and they both recalled going to a horse race and winning enough money to buy Ralph a new suit, shoes and a hat. All these items were apparently needed.
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1 comment:

  1. A honorable record of service -- as well as a happy and amusing ending!