Gene Duain Ralston was born February 16, 1933. The fourth child of five born on a dry-land (non-irrigated) 160 acre farm in a two room house in rural Oklahoma, five miles west of Binger OK. His first 2 yrs of school were spent in a 1 room country school teaching grades 1-8.
During this period, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and for the next five years the family experienced the shortages and tribulations that all farm families suffered; including the rationing of sugar, gasoline, tires and shoes, along with price controls on almost everything considered life necessities.
Gene survived these adventures and has written a book about these experiences titled,”‘Okie Boy – The Great Depression and World War II”.
After that he was transferred (with his younger brother) to a consolidated public school” named Sickles Public School. Gene took an active role in sports, especially baseball and basketball and graduated from Sickles High School in 951 as Valedictorian in a class of 5 students. His grades earned him a scholarship to Draughtari Business College in Wichita Falls Texas which would teach him all he needed to know to pass the exams and be qualified as a CPA.
At this time the Korean “Police Action” was going hot and heavy, to the extent that the Army and Marine Corps were “drafting” new recruits. Gene was disappointed to learn that, although attending a regular college would exempt him from the Selective Service, attending a business college would not. Genes father had served in the US Army in WW1 in France, then in Germany in the Army of Occupation for 6 months after Armistice. The stories he told of the active combat were such that Gene realized he would very much prefer to serve in the U.S. Navy than the Army or Marine Corp. Enlisting in the Navy required several letters of recommendation from school records and family members. At the appropriate time, Gene put the documents he had gathered and used them on Jan 10, 1952 to enlist in the Navy. The actual process involved a bus trip from Wichita Falls TX to Love Air Force Base in Dallas TX for physicals and written exams before taking the oath of office for a 4 year tour in the Navy.
After 3 months of Basic training in San Diego CA 4 months of basic aviation school in Norman OK and seven months of Aviation Electrician mate training Jacksonville FO, Gene was assigned to duty at the Naval Aviation Air Station in Kingsville TX.
The above marked the beginning of a very lucrative 30 yr career in the US Navy. After 6 years Gene was promoted to Chief Petty officer and from then on it was wonderful. Then after serving for 12 ½ yrs he was promoted from Pay grade E8 to O1, and began to receive all the benefits of an officer. Gene retired after 30 years of service as a Commander.
Gene resides here in Lemoore with his childhood sweetheart of 64 years. They have 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.