Published Assembly SU '71
Ralph Allen Starner No. 15891 Class of
1946 Died 9 September 1970 at Schofield
Barracks, Hawaii, aged 49 years. Interment: Arlington National
Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Ralph Allen Starner was
born on 19 August 1921 at Omaha, Nebraska. The Starner family
soon moved to Hoffman, Minnesota, where Ralph spent his early
years. Following graduation from high school he attended Concordia
College at Moorhead, Minnesota, earning a degree in chemistry.
Ralph became a Cadet at the United States Military Academy on
1 July 1943.
Ralph quickly won the esteem and respect
of his associates in the Corps of Cadets and established a reputation
as a man of strong character and high moral principles. A classmate
had this to say in the 1946 HOWIIZER: "Ralph makes friends
very easily and we are sure he will be a credit to the long gray
line." As did many of his associates, Ralph entered pilot
training during Third Class year. He was assigned to flight school
at Chickasha, Oklahoma, and during this short tour of duty he
met his wife, Joy Jones, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, then a college
student at nearby Oklahoma College for Women. Ralph graduated
with the Class of 1946 on 4 June 1946 and was commissioned in
the Field Artillery.
Ralph and Joy Jones were married at
Ardmore, Oklahoma, on 30 August 1946 during graduation leave.
Ralph attended the Field Artillery Officers Course at Fort Sill,
Oklahoma and Fort Bliss, Texas, until mid-1947 when he joined
the 472d Field Artillery Battalion, 11th Airborne Division, in
Japan. The Starners' son, Steven Cage Starner, was born at Jinmachi,
Japan, on 13 January 1949. In the fall of 1950, Ralph entered
combat in Korea with the 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion
of the 187th Regimental Combat Team and participated in both
parachute landings made by the 187th Regimental Combat Team.
This tour in Korea was followed by duty with the 675th Airborne
Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Ralph returned to Fort Sill in
1952, where he attended the Artillery Officers Advanced Course
in 1952-1953. Next came a civil schooling assignment at the Georgia
Institute of Technology, where Ralph earned a Master of Science
degree in Electrical Engineering. He then returned to Fort Sill
for duty with the Artillery School in the Communications-Electronics
Department until 1959. The next permanent change of station took
him to the Command and General Staff College for the regular
course of 1959-1960. Ralph then commenced a four year tour of
duty in Germany with several duty assignments: the 2d Howitzer
Battalion, 7th Artillery (60-61); G-1 Section, Headquarters,
24th Infantry Division (61-62); Personnel and Administration
Division, Headquarters, United States Army Europe (62-63); and
Commanding Officer, 6th Battalion, 40th Artillery (63-64).
Following this duty in Germany
Ralph was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Research and
Development, Department of the Army, until early 1967. He then
began a two year tour with the American Standardization Group
in the United Kingdom and was assigned to duty with the Royal
School of Artillery at Larkhill, England. From England, Ralph
was ordered to duty with the 1st Signal Brigade, United States
Army Strategic Communications Command, Vietnam, where he spent
a challenging and rewarding year.
Colonel Starner had just
commenced a long-awaited tour of duty in Hawaii at Schofield
Barracks with the Headquarters, United States Army, Hawaii, when
he died suddenly and unexpectedly on 9 September 1970. Graveside
services were conducted at Arlington National Cemetery on 16
Ralph was a highly competent,
intensely dedicated professional soldier who epitomized the motto,
Duty, Honor, Country. He was liked and respected by all with
whom he was associated. Ralph was also a strong family man and
extremely proud of Steve, who was commissioned in the Field Artillery
upon graduation from the United States Military Academy with
the Class of 1970. Ralph carefully charted the ups and downs
of Steve's academic and military aptitude standings, and periodically
provided fatherly "buck-up" counseling. He was extremely
pleased that he could return from Vietnam for June Week and to
administer the oath to his son. We are certain that Ralph would
have been equally pleased and proud on the occasion of Steve's
marriage on 14 February 1971 to Mary Frances Scott, daughter
of Colonel and Mrs. Willard W. Scott Jr., Field Artillery, Class
As a classmate so wisely observed
twenty-five years ago Ralph is truly a credit to the long gray
line. Of his all too few years on earth, "May it be said,
'Well done, Be thou at peace'."
He is survived by his widow
Joy; a son, Second Lieutenant Steven C. Starner, 2d Battalion,
75th Artillery at Hanau, Germany; his father, Lee Starner and
a brother, Robert F., both of Hoffman, Minnesota.
John T. Price, Jr.