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Brigadier General Howard K. Ramey
Commanding Officer (C.O.) 5th Bomber Command January to March 26, 1943
Missing In Action (MIA) aboard B-17F "Pluto" 41-24384

Background
Howard Knox Ramey was born in 1896 in Waynesboro, Mississippi. He attended Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Mississippi State University) in Starkville, Mississippi 1915 until December 1917. During December 1917, he enlisted as a Private First Class in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Aviation Section. On April 20, 1918 he graduating from flying school and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

Click For EnlargementIn July 1920, Ramey was promoted to a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Service. In 1921, he attended the Air Service Photography School. During January to October 1925 became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 6th Photo Section at Camp Nichols. He served as Intelligence Officer there until his return to the United States in February 1927. Between 1927-1928 commanded the 22nd Photo Section at Kelly Field, TX. He was an instructor at the Air Corps Advanced Flying School between 1928 to 1931.

After being a first lieutenant for over ten years, Ramey was promoted to Captain on March 1, 1932. On March 26, 1934 Ramey was one of thirty-five U. S. World War I (WWI) pilots who founded the Order of the Daedalians, a fraternal order of military pilots.

Click For EnlargementIn 1934, Ramey graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field and attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS graduating in 1936. On June 16, 1936 promoted to Major. Afterwards, served as Operations Officer and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the 1st Bombardment Wing at March Field during 1936 to 1941. Ramey was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on December 30, 1940.

World War II History
Click For EnlargementDuring January 5, 1942 until August 1942, Ramey was Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (G-3) for the 4th Air Force. On September 17, 1942 promoted to Brigadier General. Ramey became Commanding General of the 4th Bomber Command (IV Bomber Command) until November 1942 when assigned as Deputy Commander of the Hawaiian Air Force (7th AF) until early January 1943.

On January 5, 1943 Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker went Missing In Action (MIA) aboard B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 on a combat mission over Rabaul. Following his loss, Ramey was sent to the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) as his replacement.

Brigadier General Ramey became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of Headquarters, 5th Bomber Command (V Bomber Command) of the 5th Air Force based in northern Australia and Port Moresby in New Guinea. He was the commander during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea March 2-4, 1943, when a Japanese convoy from Rabaul bound for Lae was spotted and attacked by Allied aircraft, sinking eight transports and four escorting destroyers.

Less than three months after taking command, Ramey went Missing In Action (MIA) on March 26, 1943 aboard B-17F "Pluto" 41-24384 on a reconnaissance / administrative flight that took off from 7-Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby flying via Merauke and Horn Island before returning to 7-Mile. No trace of the crew or the B-17 have even been found. The entire crew remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

After his loss, on April 19, 1943, Colonel Roger M. Ramey (no relation) became commander of V Bomber Command.

Memorials
Ramey was officially declared dead on November 19, 1945. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Postwar, Ramey has a memorial marker at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at section MA, site 59.

On September 18, 1948, Borinquen Army Air Field in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico was renamed Ramey Air Force Base In honor of Brigadier General Howard K. Ramey.

Awards
Ramey earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart (posthumously).

Distinguished Service Cross (Distinguished Service Medal) citation:
"Brigadier General Howard K. Ramey, Air Corps, United States Army. For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a position of great responsibility. As commanding General of the * * * [5th] Bomber Command. General Ramey displayed outstanding ability in organizing and directing operation against the enemy. His personal example and initiative contributed greatly towards maintaining excellent moral and effective fighting spirit among the officers and me of his command and enabled them to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in carrying out their combat assignments. The results achieved by his forces during the period between January and March 1943 are evidence of the outstanding leadership demonstrated by General Ramey at all times. The culmination of his efforts was the part he played in th annihilation of a 22-ship enemy convoy in the Bismarck Sea. General Ramey frequently accompanied his crews on combat and reconnaissance operations and he is missing in action as a result of one of these aerial operations. By his outstanding courage and unflagging devotion to duty General Ramey exemplified the highest traditions of the Army Air Forces and provide a source of inspiration to all who served with him. Entered military service from Mississippi."

Relatives
Margaret Ramey (daughter of Howard Ramey)

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Howard K. Ramey
FindAGrave - Gen Howard Knox Ramey (memorial photo, photos)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 1 pages 98, 108, 158, 324, 358, 401 (index),

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016

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