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Maj. Ralph Dresser

DAYTON, Ohio - A helmet and party suit on display in the Maj. Ralph Dresser case in the Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand exhibit in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - A helmet and party suit on display in the Maj. Ralph Dresser case in the Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand exhibit in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Ralph Dresser flying a UC-123B. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Ralph Dresser flying a UC-123B. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Ralph Dresser pointing to a bullet hole in a window dangerously near the pilot’s seat on a C-123B. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Ralph Dresser pointing to a bullet hole in a window dangerously near the pilot’s seat on a C-123B. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Ralph Dresser was the Ranch Hand commander from the fall of 1965 to the fall of 1966. During this time, the number of spray aircraft doubled and enemy reaction to the defoliation program increased considerably. 

Dresser took an active hand in command by regularly leading spray missions, and he received two Silver Stars in the summer of 1966. On both occasions, he positioned his aircraft to draw enemy fire away from another damaged UC-123. 

Dresser later flew A-37s in 1969 with the 8th Attack Squadron. Combined with his Ranch Hand service, he flew 750 combat missions, and his decorations included a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and the Air Medal with 31 oak leaf clusters. 

Click here to return to Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand.

Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

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