Ralph C. Erickson

Air Force Badge
  • Name: Ralph C. Erickson
  • Location of Birth: Deer River, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: August 3, 1932
  • Date of Death: June 14, 1986 (53 years old)
  • Parents: Albert and Mary Erickson
  • High School and Class: 1950 - Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: TSGT (Technical Sergeant)
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: 1951 (Enlistment)
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: 1971 (Retired after 20 years of service)
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    Ralph enlisted in the Air Force prior to the Korean Conflict and was trained as a weapons and armament mechanic. When the conflict broke out, he served in Korea before a transfer to Japan where he maintained weapon and armament systems.

    In the mid 1950s, Ralph was sent to what was then French Morocco for weapons testing and maintenance. When he returned to the United States he was assigned to the Defense Atomic Support Agency, Manzano Base in New Mexico where he was awarded several commendations for five years of consecutive outstanding ratings as a non commissioned officer in charge of the armament section.

    During the Vietnam Conflict, Ralph was an instructor in the United States and during a three-year tour in Germany on weapons and tactics used in Southeast Asia.

    In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ralph received many commendations, awards and medals as a member of the United States Air Force Pistol and Rifle Match Teams.

  • Wars Involved:
    Korean Conflict
    Vietnam Era

  • MIA / POW:
    Ralph moved with his parents to rural Cohasset, Minnesota in 1943.

    Following discharge, Ralph returned to the Cohasset area and worked for four years for Lake States Tree Service and in 1976 began working for Blandin Paper Company in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He worked there until his death on June 14, 1986.

    Ralph married Betty Jo Maness on July 21, 1977.

    He was a life member of Ponti-Peterson Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1720 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Air Force Sergeants Association, Retired Enlisted Men's Association, and the Grand Rapids Loyal Order of Moose Club in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    Survivors are his wife, Betty Jo; daughters, Elaine Tryon, Iris Stanley, Carol Barsness, Debbie Erickson, Diane Randall; two stepdaughters, Kay Cartwright and Kim Montague; a son, David Erickson; a stepson, Steve Byers; his mother Mary Erickson; a sister, Katherine Erickson; brothers, Ellwood and Raymond; and five grandchildren.

    His first wife, Dorothy, died in 1973 and his father, Albert, died in 1979. A stepson, David Byers, died in 1977.

    Ralph died at Itasca Memorial Hospital in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and is buried in Wildwood Cemetery at Cohasset, Minnesota. (Plot p35e34)

  • Civilian Life:

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):