Warner Robins group recognizes World War II veteran for service

Sun News correspondentOctober 10, 2012 

The Warner Robins chapter of The Retired Enlisted Association recognized Raymond Ryals Thursday for his service during World War II.

Ryals, 92, graduated from Perry High School in 1940 and worked at a filling station until he joined the Army.

He was one of three brothers, all of whom served in World War II. Maurice Ryals worked on aircraft in England, and Frank Ryals was a combat medic who was captured and held a prisoner of war for three months.

“That was the worst day,” Raymond Ryals said of the day the telegraph arrived at the house telling the family Frank was missing. “The next worst day was a few days later when we found out he was a prisoner.”

Raymond Ryals did not go overseas but was assigned as a military police officer at Fort Benning.

“That was a No. 1 base, Fort Benning,” said Ryals, “and our main job was to take care of that one place.”

One of Fort Benning’s main functions during the war was as a basic training camp with thousands of soldiers coming in and out.

While at Fort Benning, Ryals said, he worked closely with the Alabama State Troopers.

“If they ever had a report of a solider cutting up, then we rode along with them,” Ryals said.

After leaving the service, Ryals returned to his family’s farm and eventually went to work at Robins Air Force Base. Ernest Cooling, who spearheaded the Warner Robins chapter’s effort to recognize World War II veterans, said the organization wanted to honor as many veterans as possible.

“They all deserve the recognition for what they did,” Cooling said.

On hand for the recognition was Rick Delaney, the newly elected national president of The Retired Enlisted Association. Delaney is a Warner Robins resident and the charter president of the local chapter.

It was Delaney who designed the award several years ago and started the initiative to recognize veterans. His hope as the new national president is to expand the program across the country and to veterans of Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars. The organization also recognizes JROTC students at local high schools.

With 45,000 members across the United States, The Retired Enlisted Association’s main goal is to be a voice for the concerns of enlisted personnel from all services.

Those interested in more information about the organization or having a World War II veteran recognized may contact Delaney at 284-9879.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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