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Adapted from "Lieutenant Commander Ralph Glenn Belles, United States Navy" [biography, dated 14 August 1956] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

Adapted from "Lieutenant Commander Ralph Glenn Belles, United States Navy"
[biography, dated 14 August 1956] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.
  • Communications--Visual –Signals, Radio and Voice
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC-Library

Ralph Glenn Belles

9 May 1917 – [no death date]

PDF Version [4.8MB]

Ralph Glenn Belles was born on May 9, 1917, in Ottumwa, Iowa, son of Mrs. C. G. (Alice E. Phillips) Belles and the late Mr. Belles. He attended Iowa Wesleyan College for three years, and on July 30, 1940, enlisted in the US Naval Reserve. On December 17, that year, he was appointed Midshipman, and on March 14, 1941 was commissioned Ensign, USNR. Through subsequent advancement, and his transfer to the US Navy from the Naval Reserve, he attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander, USN, in August 1947, to date from July 20, 1945. 

He began his officer service March 1941 on board USS Pensacola, as Anti-aircraft Gunnery Officer with additional duty as Desk Officer. In December 1941, he was detached with orders to the Armed Guard Center, Treasure Inland, San Francisco, California, where he served from January 1942 until March 1943 as Gunnery and Communications Officer. While serving as an Armed Guard Officer during the early period of World War II, two of the vessels on which he served were torpedoed and sunk. 

In May 1943, he reported to the Submarine Chaser Training Center, Miami, Florida, where he had instruction for several months, and at her commissioning in September of the same year, he joined USS Waterman (DE 740) as Gunnery Officer. As such, he participated in the Marianas operations (capture and occupation of Saipan and Guam, and the Third Bonins raids; the capture and occupation of Tinian; the Western Carolines operations; Leyte operation, including Battle of Surigao Strait and Luzon and Formosa attacks; Luzon operation (attacks on Luzon, Formosa and China Coast); Nansei Shoto attack: and the Iwo Jima and Okinwa Gunto operations. 

From September to December 1945, he had duty as Loading Officer at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Port Chicago, Illinois, and for six months thereafter was Officer in Charge of Test Facilities, at the David W. Taylor Model Basin, Carderock, Maryland. He completed the course at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island, in May 1947, at which time he was assigned to the USS Mount Olympus, (AGC 8), as First Lieutenant. He served in that capacity until July 1949 and during the next fourteen months was Ordnance Officer of Sub Group ONE, Philadelphia Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

In September 1950 he became Executive Officer of USS Niobrara (AO 72), continuing duty afloat until detached in December 1952 when he was ordered to the US Naval Training Center, Aurora, Illinois. There he served as Commanding Officer until August 1955. Since September of that year he has been assigned to the staff of Commander Carrier Division 18, and is currently on duty as Surf Operations Officer. 

Lieutenant Commander Belles has the American Defense Service Medal with star; the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver and three bronze star (eight operations); European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Phil Philippine Liberation Ribbon.


Published: Mon Nov 18 12:33:08 EST 2019