Wendell Reed (Ray) Alcorn was born on November 23, 1939 near Snyderville, Pennsylvania. He departed this world at the age of 80 on March 12, 2020.
Ray graduated from the Dayton Joint High School in 1957, followed by the Pennsylvania State University in 1961. He then entered Naval Aviation Pre-Flight School and began his thirty-year Navy career. He served in various aviation squadrons aboard several carriers and numerous shore commands. He primarily flew the A-4 Skyhawk and A-7 Corsair II. He served in Command of Training Squadron 25 and Major Command of Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada.
Lieutenant Alcorn was forced to eject over North Vietnam and taken as a Prisoner of War while flying his 29th combat mission on December 22, 1965. After spending 2,609 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
As a Captain, he was head of the Tactical Air Training Branch on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare from July 1982 to May 1985, where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Naval Strike Warfare Center (the Naval Aviation attack community version of Topgun) at NAS Fallon, Nevada. He served was Chief of Staff for the Chief of Naval Air Training at Corpus Christi, Texas, from May 1985 to July 1987. His final Navy assignment was as Dean of Students at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he served from June 1990 until his retirement on June 30, 1992. He received his Masters of Strategic Planning and Development at the Naval War College, and his Masters of Business Management at Salve Regina College while in Newport.
For his military service he was awarded two Silver Stars for service in combat, the Navy Air Medal, three Bronze Stars with combat notation, and two Purple Hearts among other decorations.
Upon retirement, he was employed as Assistant to the General Manager of Squaw Valley Ski Corporation, Olympic Valley, California and managed the Truckee, CA Airshow. He was Commissioner for Veterans Affairs for the State of Nevada under Governor Kenny Quinn.
Ray Alcorn was predeceased by his parents Ruth Neil and John Alcorn. He is survived by his wife of almost 35 years, Karen Zefting Alcorn; his brother Donald E. Alcorn of Montgomery, Alabama; sister Lou Alcorn Shelley and her husband Michael of Brevard; four nephews, one niece and several great-nephews and -nieces.
Memorial services will be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Scholarship Fund of Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church, 300 East Main Street, Brevard, NC 28712.
Online condolences may be left at www.moodyconnollyfuneralhome.com
Moody-Connolly Funeral Home and Crematory are caring for the family.