LtCol Leland C. Ritter, USMC (Retired) Returned To Base on 26 November 2022 just 55 days short of his 101st birthday. He was the first Commanding Officer of HMM-265 when the squadron was formed at MCAS New River in 1962. He celebrated his 100th birthday on January 20, 2022.
Here is a link to some remembrances of his time as CO, beginning with an email from his daughter, Kay Grasso. The information she provided was sent to all of our members who had served under him, which triggered a round-robin discussion of “early days at New River under LtCol Ritter.” Here are several more posts related to LtCol Ritter.
- A short video of LtCol Ritter’s 100th birthday celebration as an Honored Guest at a MCRD San Diego Recruit Graduation
- Pictures from LtCol Ritter’s time as CO
- More pictures from LtCol Ritter’s time as CO
- Kay ran across these interesting tidbits while going through his things following his RTB.
- His obituary, written by Kay.
- And finally, here is his military career in his own words.
Note for non-aviators: LtCol Ritter was a career GCA controller. GCA stands for Ground Controlled Approach, a method for helping pilots land when visibility is limited. The GCA Controller’s voice is the pilots’ lifeline when they can’t see the runway. It is a pressure-cooker kind of job. For more details see the Wiki entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-controlled_approach.
He truly was one of “The Greatest Generation.”
Semper Fi, Lee.