Ralph P. Cousins was born in Mexia, Texas, on Dec. 1, 1891. Following graduation from the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry on June 12, 1915.
He was first assigned to the 12th Cavalry in Brownsville, Texas, on border patrol duty in September 1915, and during that month was in action against Mexican bandits. He remained with the 12th Cavalry on border patrol duty until February 1916 when he was transferred to the 6th Cavalry and joined the Punitive Expedition into Mexico. He returned to the Big Bend District, Texas, in July 1916, and the following August was detailed to the Signal Corps Aviation School in San Diego, Calif. Following graduation in May 1917 he was assigned as a pilot of the 1st Aerial Squadron. He organized and became Commandant of the School of Military Aeronautics in Austin, Texas, from May to September 1917. He then was ordered to duty in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Washington, D.C.
In February 1918 he went to France for service with the American Expeditionary Forces as Liaison Officer in connection with flight training schools in England and France, and during this period he served at the front. He returned to the United States in May 1918 and served as a member of the Air Service Control Board in the Office of the Director of Military Aeronautics, Washington, D.C. In October 1919 he assumed command of Group B of the 1st Provisional Group Roosevelt Field, N.Y., and three months later became Commandant of Payne Field, Miss.
He was Commanding Officer of the 1st Bombardment Group at Kelly Field, Texas, from June 1919 to September 1920. He was then transferred to the Office of the Chief of Air Service, Washington, D.C., as a member of the Advisory Board until August 1921. He then was assigned as a student at Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University, Conn., and graduated in June 1922 with a Master of Science degree. Thereafter until January 1923, he was on temporary duty with the General Electric Company in Schenectady, N.Y.
He was Commanding Officer at Chanute Field from November 1923 to September 1924, when he entered the Office of the Chief of Air Corps, Washington, D.C. He served in this office until May 1928, then became Commanding Officer of Clark Field, Philippine Islands, for two years. He was transferred to Langley Field, Va., in June 1930, where he attended the Air Corps Tactical School and graduated with the 1931 class. In June 1933 he completed the two-year course at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and was ordered to duty in the Office of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C.
His next assignment was to the Army War College, Washington, D.C., and he graduated in 1937. He then was assigned to the General Headquarters Air Force, Langley Field, Va., and was detailed to staff duties at the post in August 1938. In June 1941 he was relieved from a subsequent assignment with the Air Force Combat Command, Bolling Field, D.C., and assigned to the Headquarters of the Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C., where he became Assistant Chief of Air Staff (A1) in charge of Personnel.
In January 1942 he was designated Commanding Officer of the West Coast Air Corps Training Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The West Coast Air Corps Training Center was redesignated the Army Air Forces Western Flying Training Command in August 1943.
He is rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
First Lieutenant July 1, 1916
Captain July 25, 1917
Major July 18, 1920
Lieutenant Colonel Dec. 22, 1936
Colonel (temporary) March 1, 1940
Brigadier General (temporary) July 10, 1941
Major General (temporary) Feb. 16, 1942
(Current as of May 1, 1945)