Gerry Alley was born on July 28, 1934, in Pocatello, Idaho. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on July 16, 1954, and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program of the Air Force for Navigator Training upon graduation from basic training. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Air Force and was awarded his Navigator Wings at Ellington AFB, Texas, on May 21, 1956, and then attended Aircraft Observer Training and B-47 Stratojet Combat Crew Training from May 1956 to January 1957. His first assignment was as a B-47 navigator-bombardier with the 44th Bomb Squadron at Schilling AFB and Forbes AFB, Kansas, from February 1957 to May 1962, and then in the B-47 Combat Crew Training Section of the 25th Bomb Squadron at Forbes AFB from May 1962 to August 1964. Capt Alley next served as a B-47 navigator-bombardier with the 1st Bomb Squadron of the 9th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, from September 1964 to January 1966, followed by service as a B-52 Stratofortress navigator-bombardier with the 28th Bomb Squadron at Homestead AFB, Florida, from February 1966 to August 1968. Maj Alley served as an Air Target Officer with Headquarters 8th Air Force at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, from August 1968 to December 1969, and then as Assistant Chief and then Chief of the Targets Division with Headquarters 7th and 13th Air Force at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from December 1969 to December 1970. His next assignment was as a B-52 radar-navigator with the 2nd Bomb Squadron of the 22nd Bomb Wing at March AFB, California, from December 1970 until he was killed in action while on temporary duty to Southeast Asia on December 22, 1972. He was officially listed as Missing in Action and promoted through the ranks to Colonel before being declared dead on August 16, 1978. His remains were returned to the United States on December 15, 1988, and he was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Salina, Kansas.
His Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads:
Major Gerald W. Alley distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a B-52 Radar Navigator over Southeast Asia on 22 December 1972. On that date, Major Alley participated in high-priority bombing missions against vital military targets in heavily-defended areas of North Vietnam. Despite the extreme hazards of multiple surface-to-air missiles and hostile interceptors, Major Alley displayed extraordinary courage and a remarkable ability to perform under severe stress as he placed the mission requirements above his personal safety in order to successfully release his ordnance on the designated targets. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Alley reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.