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Clinton Nominates Air Force's Ralston for Vice Chairman

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 1995 – President Clinton has nominated Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He will succeed Adm. William A. Owens, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

"Gen. Ralston brings to the job of vice chairman a wealth of experience in the development of military requirements and indepth knowledge of the defense acquisition process," said Clinton in a statement released Dec. 15. "These and other attributes provide Gen. Ralston the requisite leadership and management necessary for the post of vice chairman at a critical time in the history of the armed forces."

The president also praised Owens for his exemplary service to the nation. Clinton said Owens' sound advice on using military power to shape diplomacy, molding a joint fighting force and advancing military technology will help keep America's armed forces strong. "Adm. Owens will truly be missed in the senior decisionmaking ranks of our national security structure," he said.

Upon Senate confirmation, Ralston will leave his role as commander of the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., a position he has held since June.

Before his Langley assignment, Ralston served as the Air Force deputy chief of staff for plans and operations. From 1992 to 1994, he commanded the Alaskan Command and the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, both at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Ralston earned his commission through Air Force ROTC at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He holds a master's degree in personnel management from Central Michigan University. He's a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, the National War College and John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ralston has over 2,500 flying hours, including 147 combat missions over Laos and Vietnam. His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also holds the Meritorious Service Medal, 20 awards of the Air Medal and five Air Force Commendation Medals.

He is married to the former Diane "Dede" Dougherty of Wilmette, Ill. They have four children.

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