Ralph Galati was born in 1948 in Darby, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate through the Air Force ROTC program at St. Joseph's College on May 24, 1970, and completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather AFB, California, in March 1971. Lt Galati next completed F-4 Phantom II Weapon Systems Officer Combat Crew Training at George AFB, California, before deploying to Southeast Asia in November 1971. He served as a Laser Guided Bomb Lead and Forward Air Controller with the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from November 1971 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on February 16, 1972. After spending 406 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 28, 1973. After hospitalization, Capt Galati served as an Instructor Navigator and Curriculum Manager for Undergraduate Navigator Training with the 451st Flying Training Squadron at Mather AFB, California, from June 1973 to May 1977. His next assignment was as an ASTRA Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in the Office of Legislative Liaison at the Pentagon, before going into the Air Force Reserve in July 1978. Capt Galati served in the reserves flying as a Navigator on C-141 Starlifters in the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, until he left the service in May 1980. Ralph was hired by IBM in 1979 and retired in 2007. He and his wife Rosemary have two children.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
First Lieutenant Ralph W. Galati distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an
F-4D Weapons System Officer in Southeast Asia on 16 February 1972. On that date, Lieutenant Galati was the strike team leader on an air strike of highest importance deep inside hostile territory. Because photo reconnaissance of the target area was extremely limited, he was primarily tasked to locate and mark the targets for the strike flights which followed. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Lieutenant Galati remained in this extremely hostile environment for over two hours locating targets and directing strikes against these targets, despite continually receiving intense antiaircraft fire. By his courageous efforts, Lieutenant Galati accounted for the destruction of two heavy field pieces, five antiaircraft positions, and a supply warehouse. Shortly thereafter his aircraft took a disabling hit forcing him down in hostile territory. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Galati has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.