Richard Lincoln Ruble – Colonel, United States Army

Courtesy of his classmates, USMA Class Of 1946

Published Assembly Jul '92
Richard Lincoln Ruble   No.16110 – Class of 1946
Died 7 April 1970 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, aged 47 years.
Interment:  Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


Richard Lincoln (Dick ) Ruble was born 12 February 1923 in Albert Lea,  Minnesota. Dick's great-grandfather, John Ruble, and his brother, Henry Ruble,  were the founders of Albert Lea in the early 1800s. They named the town after Captain Albert Lea, USMA 1831, who originally mapped the area.  One of eight children, Dick attended Albert Lea High School. Besides playing the clarinet in the band, Dick was an avid fisherman and skier. He also participated actively in the Boy Scouts, gaining Eagle Scout status. One of his older brothers, Harold, graduated from Annapolis, Class of 1933. This encouraged Dick to seek an appointment to West Point. He attended junior college in Albert Lea for a year and then attended Cochran-Bryan Preparatory School in Annapolis. His brother Byron, USNA '50, recalled that Dick made frequent trips to the halls of Congress to secure an appointment. He was successful and joined the Class of 1946 on 1 July 1943.

Life as a cadet was a great adventure for Dick. A roommate, Edwin Basham, recalled: “He was the first cadet, other than the beast barracks roommates, that I knew. He had a friendly manner and a sense of humor that made being around him a relief during those trying days.” Always in trouble with the Academic Department, Dick's skirmishes with the Tactical Department were legendary. One of a small group, some say the leader, known as the “The Regulars,” Dick led a foray into Highland Falls and engineered the liberation of the “Navy Goat” just before the 1945 Army-Navy game in Baltimore. Dick was a member of the Hop Committee, Ski and Fishing Clubs his entire time at West Point. Graduation found Dick commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps.

During graduation leave, Dick married his childhood sweetheart, Barbara Wayne, in Albert Lea on 14 July 1946. Dick's first assignment was as a platoon leader in an antiaircraft artillery unit in Japan. After a short time, he received his first taste of intelligence work with Headquarters, 7th Division in Japan. In early June 1950, Dick returned to Fort Lewis, Washington and the 501st AAA Gun Battalion. In 1951, Dick moved to Fort Bliss, Texas to become a test officer with the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Board. After completing the Artillery Officer Advanced Course at Fort Sill in 1953, Dick transferred into Military Intelligence. He and Barbara moved to the Army Language School at the Presidio of Monterey, where Dick studied Japanese for a year. Dick became an area intelligence officer in Korea in 1955. Barbara joined him In Japan, where Dick transferred in 1956 after a year in Korea.

In 1959, Dick attended the Command and General Staff College and the University of Wisconsin, where he received his master's degree in geography. In 1962, the Rubles moved to Washington, D.C., where Dick attended language school in Spanish. Dick then traveled back to Fort Leavenworth to serve as an instructor in the newly formed Department of Strategic Subjects. His boss at the time, Robert E. Drake, Colonel, USA, Retired, (USMA '44) recalled: “… I got to know him as a wholly dedicated professional who served with enthusiasm and boundless energy. As a new department, the few of us charged with its creation had our work cut out for us. Dick Ruble had a major role in organizing our subject matter, searching for guest speakers and developing our lesson plans. He was an exceptional instructor-popular with his students. … We rode horses together. … We worked together on revitalizing the Fort Leavenworth Hunt-dead since World War II…. That was the man always willing to help others, always willing to be engaged, always willing. He was a people man.”

Dick volunteered to go to Vietnam in 1966. After serving as commander of Company C, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion and commander of the 149th Military Intelligence Battalion, Dick became the S-2 of the 5th Special Forces Group. Classmate Tom Huddleston recalled: “When Dick was attached to the 5th Special Forces Group, he came not only in a baseball hat (not a green beret), but he was also a ‘leg' (not parachute qualified). Frank Kelly (Group Commander) convinced Dick that he had to be jump certified to be effective in the group. So, Kelly assigned a couple of Special Forces sergeants to teach Dick the rudiments of parachuting. After making five jumps from a helicopter at Nha Trang, Dick was awarded his wings. Dick did some very good things for the 5th. The downward flow of tactical intelligence improved, and we had several ASA radio locating teams moved into our camps. He was also very levelheaded about what was real information security and what was bothersome paperwork….”

In his book, Inside The Green Berets, Presidio Press, 1983, Bill Simpson paid tribute to Dick Ruble's contribution. He wrote:  “. . .The solution to the 5th Special Forces Group's intelligence dilemma appeared about a month later in the person of Lieutenant Colonel Dick Ruble, a professional Intelligence officer assigned to MACV… The detachment brought with it a number of code word clearances and billets, so that the senior officers of the group were allowed inside the ‘green doors' all over Vietnam, and the lights went on!… Dick and his men labored deep into the night every day for six months. It was a shock to learn all the things of which we were ignorant and which we were doing incorrectly…. Intelligence was provided the CIDG camps for almost the first time….”

Dick attended the Army War College and then became director of operations, Office of the Chief of Staff for Intelligence. Brigadier General DeWitt C. Armstrong, Retired (USMA Jan '43) recalled: “….Dick Ruble was a splendid officer, a most honorable man. His consistently sound judgement won him universal trust, even in the murky field of secret Intelligence activity. He got solid results quickly. … Our association came during a particularly critical time, at the end of the1 960s. Anti-war protesters, a hostile press, an unsupportive Congress, and an aggressively thrusting USSR all complicated the tasks of Army Intelligence. Dick's stalwart presence in the vortex of all this was a Godsend. Dick's most lasting contribution, in my view, was in helping bring the Army into unprecedented cooperation with other intelligence organizations, to the profound benefit of all – and the nation he served so faithfully and well.”

On 7 April 1970, Richard Lincoln Ruble suffered a fatal heart attack. He was survived by his wife, Barbara; four daughters, Laura, Patricia, Janet and Barbara; two sons, David and Richard, Jr.; his mother; two sisters; and four brothers.

Dick Ruble loved what he was doing in the Army. He had so much more to offer the country, the Army, his friends and especially his family. He had only one love his Barbara, with whom he had grown up in Albert Lea; and he always made time to be with her and with his children, upon whom he doted. Dick always kept his marvelous sense of humor and never failed to look at the bright side of things. He felt his talents and abilities were God-given and therefore meant to be shared with others. His memory will remain always with those who knew and loved him. His West Point roommate, Edwin Basham, said it best:  “Richard Lincoln Ruble imparted good to everyone during his quarter century of Duty, Honor and Service to Country,”Well Done, Dick; Be Thou At Peace!”

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