Died August 16,1948
Ray L. Owens was born in Chillicothe, Missouri on April 7, 1891. He attended Moore Normal School, Chillicothe, Missouri, and was a teacher in the public schools of Colorado and Oklahoma for seven years. On June 4, 1917, he enlisted at Fort Logan, Colorado, and was assigned to the 25th Cavalry. He was promoted to corporal in September 1917, and entered the 4th Officers Training Corps, Camp Fremont, California. He transferred to the Field Artillery Corps, Officers Training School, Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky. He was graduated on August 17, 1918, and commissioned a second lieutenant, Field Artillery on the same date, serving throughout the World War until August 23, 1919. He was commissioned in the Regular Army as a second lieutenant, Air Service, on July 1, 1920.
His first commissioned service was with the Headquarters Company, 9th Regiment Field Artillery Replacement Depot at Camp Jackson, South Carolina, beginning August 1918. The following September he transferred to the School of Fire, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, from which he was graduated in November 1918. He was then assigned to the Air Service Flying School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as student observer. After graduating as an aerial observer he earned his wings as a pilot in August 1919.
In July 1920 he was appointed to the Regular Army. His first assignment was at Fort Keogh, Montana, and in October 1920, he was transferred to March Field, California, for training. He returned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in April 1921, and a year later was assigned to the 2d Observation Squadron at Kindley Field, Fort Mills, Philippine Islands, and became Post Adjutant in August 1922. In May 1924 he returned to the United States and was stationed at Brooks Field, Texas, for Post Staff duties. He was transferred to March Field, California, in October 1927, where he became Post Adjutant to March Field in July 1929.
In July 1930 he was detailed for duty as Assistant Executive, Office, Chief of Air Corps, Washington, D.C. In August 1934 he enrolled in the Air Corps Tactical School, Maxwell Field, Alabama, and remained there as Station Adjutant after his graduation in June 1935.
Enrolling in the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in August 1937, he was graduated in June 1938, and ordered to Hamilton Field, California, for duty as Adjutant the following month.
In February 1941 he joined the Second Air Force at Fort George Wright, Washington, as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, and then became Deputy Chief of Staff, Second Air Force, in November 1941, with additional duty as Commanding Officer, 2d Air Force Base Command. In March 1942 he was named Chief of Staff of the Second Air Force. From June to July 1942, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C., then proceeded to Headquarters, United States Army Air Forces in the South Pacific Area, where he became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1. He served in this capacity until November 1942 when he was assigned to organize and command the Service Command in Fiji.
He became Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, Thirteenth Air Force, in July 1943, and in January 1944 was placed in command of the I Island Command. He returned to the United States in June 1944 and the next month was made a Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C. In June 1945, he became Commanding General, Miami District of the Army Air Forces Personnel Distribution Command, Miami, Florida.
He retired in the grade of Brigadier General on April 30, 1946.
General Owens died on August 16, 1948, at Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco, California.
He was rated a Command Pilot, Combat Observer, and Aircraft Observer.
Private and Corporal, Troop M, 25th Cavalry and Battery F, 83rd Field Artillery, June 4, 1917, to August 16, 1918; Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery U.S.A., August 17, 1918; honorably discharged on August 23, 1919; Second Lieutenant, Air Service, July 1, 1920; First Lieutenant, July 1, 1920; Captain, September 1, 1934; Major (temporary), October 12, 1937; Major, July 1, 1940; Lieutenant Colonel (temporary), May 6, 1941; Lieutenant Colonel, A.U.S., September 15, 1941; Colonel, A.U.S., February 1, 1942; Colonel, A.U.S. (Air Corps), March 1, 1942; Lieutenant Colonel, November 24, 1942; Brigadier General, A.U.S., December 4, 1942; retired, disability in line of duty, with rank of Brigadier General on April 30, 1946.
Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, World War I Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal.