Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III)
Commander Carrier Division 26

U.S. Navy photograph

Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie, U.S. Navy



navycross.jpg Navy Cross
LOM.jpg Legion of Merit (1)
CAR.jpg Combat Action Ribbon
PUC.jpg Presidential Unit Citation
ADM.jpg American Defense Service Medal
ACM.jpg American Campaign Medal
APCM.jpg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
WW2VM.jpg World War II Victory Medal
national_defense_SM.jpg National Defense Service Medal
PPUC.jpg Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
PLM.jpg Philippine Liberation Medal
Award Criteria


- 1897 Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
MIDN 1915-1918 Student at U.S. Naval Academy Annapolis
ENS 1918 USS Whipple (DD-15)
ENS 1918 USS Chattanooga (CL-18)
ENS 1919-1920 USS O'Bannon (DD-177)
ENS 1920 Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, NAS Pensacola, Florida
LTJG 1920-1921 Naval Flight Training, NAS Pensacola, Florida
LTJG 1922-1924 Fighter Squadron VF-1 "Wolfpack"
LT 1924-1925 Scouting Squadron VS-6
LT 1927-1929 USS Detroit (CL-8)
LT 1929-1933 Naval Air Station, Anacostia, Washington, DC
LT 1933-1935 Fighter Squadron VF-6 embarked in USS Saratoga (CV-3)
LCDR 1935-1937 Assistant Naval Attaché in Tokyo, Japan
LCDR 1938-1939 USS Enterprise (CV-6)
LCDR 1939 USS Saratoga (CV-3)
LCDR 1940 USS Enterprise (CV-6)
LCDR 1940 USS Yorktown (CV-5)
CDR 1941 Assistant Naval Attaché in London, England
CDR 1942 US Pacific Fleet
CAPT 1943-1944 USS Essex (CV-9)
RADM 1944 CTG 32.7/COMCARDIV 26 with flag in USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) at Palau
RADM 1944 COMCARDIV 26 with flag in USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) at Samar
RADM 1945 COMCARDIV 26 with flag in USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) at Lingayen
RADM 1945-1946 US Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific)
RADM 1946 Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
RADM 1950-1951 CTF 77 at Korea
VADM 1953-1954 Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air)
VADM 1955-1956 Commander Sixth Fleet with flag in USS Newport News (CA-148)
VADM 1956 Retired from service
- 1956 Died in Maryland after illness


Short biography of
Vice Admiral Ralph Andrew Ofstie, U.S. Navy

Ralph Andrew Ofstie was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on November 16, 1897.  His hometown was Everett, Washington.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in June 1918.

During World War 1 he served on the USS WHIPPLE (DD-15) and USS CHATTANOOGA (CL-18) where he saw duty in the Eastern Atlantic and in European Waters.  He was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade) in August 1918.  After the war he was transferred to USS O'BANNON (DD-177).

In 1920 Ofstie reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida for Navy Pre-Flight School.  Upon completion he attended Naval Flight Training school which he completed in 1921.  His first air squadron was Fighter Squadron VF-1 "Wolfpack" where he served from 1922 to 1924.  With other Navy pilots in the 1920s Ofstie participated in annual flight competitions with Army pilots in the Curtiss Marine aircraft.

In 1924-1925 he was assigned as Commanding Officer of Scouting Squadron VS-6.  From 1927 to 1929 he served as Aviation Officer of USS DETROIT (CL-8).

From 1929 to 1933 Ofstie served in the Flight Test Division at Naval Air Station Anacostia.

Returning to sea aboard the carrier USS SARATOGA (CV-3) in 1933 Ofstie took command of Fighter Squadron VF-6 for the next two years.

Promoted to Lieutenant Commander he was assigned as Assistant naval attaché in Tokyo, Japan and upon completion of that duty he returned to sea as Navigator on the carrier USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6).  As an interim assignment he served on staff duty aboard the carrier USS SARATOGA (CV-3) in 1939 before returning to the carrier ENTERPRISE.

Before the United States entered World War 2 Ofstie served on staff duty on the carrier USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) in 1940.  With the war in Europe already underway, he next served as Assistant Naval Attache in London, England.

Ofstie's first war-time assignment in the United States was as a Commander on the staff of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander United States Pacific Fleet, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Promoted to Captain, from November 6, 1943 to August 7, 1944 he commanded the large carrier ESSEX (CV-9).  During his tenure on ESSEX Ofstie saw plenty of combat.  ESSEX took part in her first amphibious assault, the landing on Tarawa.  Her second amphibious assault delivered in company with TG 58.2 was against the Marshalls in January–February 1944.  As part Task Group 68.2 she participated in the attack against Truk in February 1944.  ESSEX struck Marcus and Wake Islands in May 1944, and finally deployed with Task Force 58 to support the occupation of the Marianas in June 1944.

In August 1944 Ofstie was promoted to Rear Admiral and was assigned as Commander Task Group 32.7/Carrier Division 26 with his flag in USS KITKUN BAY (CVE-71) for the invasion of Palau in September 1944.

Keeping his flag in KITKUN BAY, Carrier Division 26 moved to the Philippines to support the invasion of Leyte Gulf.  Ofstie was assigned to Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague's Task Unit 77.4.3 code name "Taffy III" where he was second in command and was heavily involved in the Battle Off Samar.  During the battle Ofstie's COMCARDIV 26 (TU 77.4.32) escort carrier USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE-73) was sunk by Japanese Naval gunfire.  For this service at Samar Ofstie was awarded the Navy Cross.

Rear Admiral Ofstie's last sea command in World War 2 was as COMCARDIV 26 at the invasion of Lingayen, Philippines in January 1945.  He was next assigned to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey of Japan where he interviewed many of the surviving Japanese officials. In 1946 he detached and was reassigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Evaluation Group and served at the Bikini Nuclear tests.

On October 11, 1949 Rear Admiral Ofstie testified before a committee stated, "strategic air warfare, as practiced in the past and as proposed for the future, is militarily unsound and of limited effect, is morally wrong, and is decidedly harmful to the stability of a post-war world."  This discussion was related to Admiral Arthur Radford's infamous "Revolt of the Admirals".

During the Korean War from 1950 to 1951 Ofstie was Commander of Task Force 77.  After the Korean War he served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air).

Ofstie’s last tour of duty was as Commander, Sixth Fleet in European waters from 1955 to 1956.  After only a year, however, Ofstie fell ill and returned to Bethesda Naval Hospital where he died on November 19, 1956.

Vice Admiral Ralph Andrew Ofstie and his wife, Captain Joy Bright Little Hancock Ofstie, are buried together in Section 30, Grave 2138, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Source:  Robert Jon Cox independent research

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