Era: World War II
Military Branch: Air Force
Ralph H. Bertz enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Dec. 7, 1942. He was commissioned a weather officer on Feb. 1, 1943. Due to surplus of weather officers he was reclassified as sergeant and a weather observer at Lemoore Air Base, Calif., and Air Corps Overseas Replacement Depot in Kearns, Utah. In April 1945, he went overseas as weather observer at Tacloban Air Base on Leyte, Philippines, with the 15th Weather Squadron. In his words: "As all Army units on Leyte and Naval units on adjacent island of Samar worked in support of securing the remainder of the Philippines and Okinawa and preparation for the invasion of Japan, the following events highlight my service in the Southwest Pacific Theater. The Aug. 6, 1945, dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the Aug. 9 dropping of the second bomb on Nagasaki led to the Japanese surrender and the great relief that we would not have togo through the anticipated bloody, high-casualty invasion of theJapanese home islands. On Jan. 8, 1946 I departed Manila for a 16-day ocean trip home. I was discharged on Feb. 23, 1946, after three years, two months and 16 days service as my small part of a great crusade that has shaped the world to this day." He received the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal and one overseas service bar.