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On Saturday, June 29, local veteran and member of the Archuleta County Airport Advisory Committee, Ralph Goulds, was presented a tribute for his service in the Navy as well as his service to the community.
“We did it because he’s a patriotic citizen,” Jim Lane, Airport Advisory Committee member said. “During his thirty years of service in the Navy, there were very, very important roles and positions that he was in. He’s been an outstanding member of the Archuleta county community and presently serves on the Airport Advisory Commission.”
According to a presentation by Lane, Goulds was born in Vienna, Austria, May 30, 1929. By the time he started grade school, the Nazis were invading Austria. Due to his mother being Jewish and his father turning down a commission in the German army, Austria was no longer safe for the family. After being sent to live in England with family and friends at the age of 8, Goulds ventured to New York on his own to reunite with his parents.
He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1947 and attended the University of Rochester, a school that he was convinced to attend after spending the day with a man by the name of Albert Einstein. After graduation, Goulds enlisted in the U.S. Navy and began his naval career serving aboard the USS Sicily. While he had dreams of becoming a naval aviator, after witnessing the crashes and near crashes on the carriers, he chose to volunteer for submarine duty.
“After all, that must be safer than flying,” wrote Lane in his presentation. “You see a lot more airplanes under water than you do submarines in the air.”
Goulds spent two years in the Korean conflict before reporting to Submarine School New London in July 1953. After graduation, he served tours of duty on the USS Angler, USS Piper, USS Blenny and the USS Sailfish, as well as a tour of shore duty at the U.S. Navy Submarine Base New London. In 1962, Gould was commanded to the Naval War College for the Command and Staff courses in Newport, R.I.
Goulds earned a master’s degree from George Washington University in international relations. He held command of the USS Entemedor from August 1963 to August 1965. Following this tour, he served for two years on the faculty of the Naval War College as well as serving a two-year tour of duty on the staff of Commander, Seventh Fleet as the ASW officer. After this tour, he served as Chief of Staff, Commander, Submarine Squadron Eight before assuming duties as Commander, Submarine Division Thirty Two. Goulds became the commander of a division of five submarines.
After this promotion, Goulds assumed his duties as the Assistant Chief of Staff for operations and plans on the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
As well as the tribute in Archuleta County, Goulds has been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with Star, the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unity Citation (Gallantry Cross), and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
Goulds retired from the Navy on June 1, 1981.
Currently, Goulds serves as chairman of the Archuleta County Airport Advisory Committee. He has been chairman of the committee for three years and has served on the board for five years. He maintains several local aircrafts, including the San Juan Flyers flying club planes, as well as remaining an active pilot and instructor.
“He still wanted to learn to fly, so while stationed in Hawaii he got his pilot’s license and instructor’s license and then later got his mechanic’s license. No matter what age he is, he still wants to learn and accomplish more. He is amazing in that regard.” Michael Arbuthnot, past member of the Airport Advisory Committee said.
The tribute to Goulds included his being made an honorary member of the San Juan Squadron Formation Team and there is a proclamation pending that establishes July 16 as Ralph Goulds’ Day in Archuleta County. This will not be valid until the county commissioners take a vote on the matter. Goulds was also presented with an autographed photo of George Bush expressing sincere appreciation and respect regarding his military career.
Goulds is the second community member to be granted the tribute. Harold Gibson was the first and was granted the tribute two years ago.
“We have a lot of young courageous people that selflessly put their lives on the line for the freedoms that we have, and here is a guy that dedicated thirty years of his life to that,” said Lane, “I don’t know if you have ever been on a submarine, but I got to tell you, it’s like being in a tin sausage can underwater, and if you are the least bit claustrophobic then you can imagine this being the worst environment that you could ever be in, and he served in two wars, on five or six submarines in his career and then became the leader of five submarines after that, and then was on the chief of staff of the Navy for the Pacific Fleet, so he’s deserving of it, largely because the guy dedicated most of his life to making sure that we had a good one.”
“It wasn’t just a thirty-year career,” said Arbuthnot. “It was an exceptional thirty-year career.”