William J. Ryan – Colonel, United States Air Force

William J. Ryan, Colonel

Born September 2, 1925 – Died August 7, 2003

William Joseph “Pat” Ryan was born in Paducah, Kentucky on 2 September 1925 and was appointed to West Point from the 1st Congressional District.

His West Point classmates recall: “Pat came to West Point after serving with the 8th Air Force during the battle of England. A staunch Rebel and intensely proud of his native state, Kentucky, Pat has shown a continued desire to help his fellow cadets in many ways ranging from academic coaching to a friendly smile for all who passed his way. Pat has achieved local renown as one of the first men to complete a full five year course.” During his cadet days Pat was on the Hop Committee all four years; with the Forum and as an Acolyte cow and first class years; on the Honor, Duty, and General Committees first class year; and was a Cadet Captain his first class year serving as Brigade Commander.

Upon graduation Pat went in the Air Force and after flying training reported to the 19th Bomb Wing in Okinawa from where he flew combat missions over North Korea and was decorated with the Air Medal for meritorious achievement beyond that normally expected, while participating in aerial flight.

From 1954 to 1956 Pat served with the United States Air Force Adjutant General's Office and then went with the 86th Fighter Interceptor Wing in Germany where he served from 1957 to 1959. In 1960, Pat was assigned to Squadron 60 of the 4347th Combat Crew Training Wing and from there went with the 20th Bombardment Squadron where he served until 1963.

From 1963 to 1965 Pat served in the Tactical Department at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado and from there went to Headquarters, Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, Virginia and was awarded the Commendation Medal for distinguished service. Pat's next assignment was to the 504th Theater Air Support Group, Republic of Vietnam where he served from 1967 to 1968.

Next he went with the 19th Theater Air Support Squadron and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for distinguished heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight; the Bronze Star Medals for distinguished heroism against an enemy; and 22 Air Medal for meritorious achievement beyond that normally expected, while participating in aerial flight.

From 1968 to 1971, Pat served with the Office, Joint Chiefs of Staff and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for conspicuously meritorious performance of duty in a non-combat situation. Next Pat went to Headquarters, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews AFB, MD where he served until 1977 and was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.

Pat's last military assignment was as Chief of Operations and Readiness Group at Headquarters, United States Air Force from 1977 to 1981 when he retired from the United States Air Force after a distinguished career of thirty years as a commissioned officer in the rank of Colonel.

“Pat's awards and decorations are: two Legion of Merit awards, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, twenty three Air Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Commendation Medal.”

Our First Captain passed away on August 7, 2003 after a courageous fight.

José Andrés Chacón
Cullum 18250
Your Little Bitty Buddy!


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/02/1925
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/07/2003

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