2024 Gala Honoree – Ralph W. ‘Getch’ Getchell

Ralph W. ‘Getch’ Getchell

Colonel Ralph W. ‘Getch’ Getchell is a retired U.S. Air Force officer with a distinguished career spanning several decades. He received his commission and Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy in 1971. Throughout his career, he held various roles, including rescue aircraft commander, A-7D pilot, and F-16 pilot.
Highlights of his career include serving in Panama, participating in Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama, and flying 19 combat missions during Operation DESERT STORM, including the first wave F-117A attack on Baghdad. Colonel Getchell also attended the Air War College and commanded units such as the 4444th Operations Squadron and the 57th Test Group.
After retiring from the Air Force in 2001, he logged over 3500 hours as a Beech 400A pilot and later returned to federal service as Chief of the Technical Services Division for the Department of Interior’s Office of Aviation Services. In this role, he supervised the development of technical specifications for aircraft service contracts, managed DOI’s aircraft fleet, and oversaw standardization/evaluation programs for inspectors until his retirement in 2016.
Colonel Getchell holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has received numerous decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and others. He is married to Mary Lysinger, and they have three children: Alex, Michael, and Katherine. Colonel Getchell was recognized as a 1991 Laurels Award winner by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine.