Finding aid (PDF)
Ralph W. Sallee was born in Arkansas in 1927. He enlisted in the Navy at the end of World War II. On July 1, 1946, he was serving as a Seaman 1st Class – Aerographers’ Mate aboard the U.S.S. PCE 847. In 1949 he was stationed at Lakehurst Naval Station in New Jersey where he met and married Dorothea Evelyn Roselle. They had two children: William James Sallee and Ann Denise Sallee.
During the Korean War, Sallee served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Oriskany (CV/CVA-34). In 1960, he received a Command at Sea achievement aboard the U.S.S. Norton Sound (AV-11). In 1962, he was posted to the Fleet Numerical Weather Facility before he was transferred to the U.S. Naval Station at Sangley Point in the Philippines in 1964. In 1965, he participated in and presented a paper at the Symposium on Meteorological Results of the International Indian Ocean Expedition.
In September 1966, Sallee worked as a naval meteorologist for Operation Deep Freeze. Operation Deep Freeze is the code name given to the U.S. Navy’s logistic support effort for America’s scientific probing’s in Antarctica. His first assignment was in Christchurch, New Zealand where he helped ensure the Winfly flights had clear skies and safe conditions. The Winfly fights were the first regularly scheduled flights to Antarctica at the end of the Antarctic winter. These flights delivered new staff and supplies to prepare the polar stations before the scientists and researchers arrived for the summer season (typically December to March).
After completing his work with the Winfly flights, in October, Sallee was posted at Chabunko Airfield in Punta Arenas, Chile, the world’s most southerly city. From here Sallee predicted weather conditions for flights on a mission to photograph the interior Antarctic Peninsula. Once this project was completed in December, Sallee served at the Naval Air Facility McMurdo Sound in Antarctica until the scientific season ended in March 1967. Sallee would return to Antarctica the following year where on September 11, 1967, as a Lieutenant Commander, he relieved Lieutenant A. W. Snell as Officer-in-Charge of Detachment Charlie, Antarctic Support Activities.
For his meteorological contributions during Operation Deep Freeze, in 1969, the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names named Sallee Snowfield in his honor. His last assignment was the Fleet Numerical Weather Facility in Monterey, California where he served from 1971 until he retired from the United States Navy as a Commander in 1975. After his retirement Sallee pursued his passion for automobiles and opened Monterey Peninsula Sports & Imports and made deliveries for Meals on Wheels.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of personal papers that document the naval career of Commander Ralph W. Sallee. The majority of the correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, articles, and other material document Commander Sallee’s time aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Oriskany (CV/CVA-34) during the Korean War and his service in Operation Deep Freeze in the mid 1960’s. The scrapbook is from the beginning of his naval career and documents his time aboard the U.S.S. PCE 847 and the U.S.S. PCE 872 in Pearl Harbor, Oahu Island, Hawaii and Kuluk Bay, Adak Island, Alaska (the westernmost municipality of the United States and the southernmost city in Alaska).
This collection should be cited as the Papers of Ralph W. Sallee, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.