Ralph Hayles

Retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Arm; Fought to Restore His Reputation After Being Blamed for Friendly Fire
Fee Range: $10,000–$15,000 [FEE NOTE]
Travels From: Texas

Ralph Edward Hayles, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (retired) is an accomplished military officer, management consultant, communications technology inventor, and public speaker. With 20 years of service in the Army, he spent over 13 of those years in key leadership positions in front-line combat units, culminating as the battalion commander of the Apache attack helicopters in the Army’s First Infantry Division (“Big Red One”) during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Involved in a “friendly fire” accident at the start of Gulf War I, Lt Col Hayles was singled out for blame, discipline, and public vilification. His “accident” was similar to many others - a combination of mistakes and equipment failures that led to a fatal result. And like many others, the last person to touch it (in this case the trigger) is blamed for all of the consequences. He has been featured in two award-winning Wall Street Journal articles. His interview on CBS “60 Minutes” won the Peabody Award and his combat story is performed in the play GUNFIGHTER, written by Tony-award winning playwright Mark Medoff (Children of a Lesser God).

After retiring from the US Army in 1991, he has been a stockbroker with Dean Witter; a financial consultant; a faculty member at Clemson University’s Business College; a founding partner of the management consulting company Alpha Performance LLC; and, Executive Vice President of ATR Electronics, Inc., a high technology antenna development company. In January 2007 he was awarded a US Patent on the Flashlight Combat Identification technology that identifies friendly soldiers and vehicles located inside the impact zones of US weapons, and he has two additional patents pending issue. The US Congress recently appropriated funding to conduct further research and development on his technology to reduce incidents of “friendly fire” against US and allied soldiers.

Colonel Hayles is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, where he excelled in high school baseball and football that earned him five college athletic scholarship offers. He graduated from Trinity University (San Antonio, TX) in 1971 with a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in management, accounting, and engineering. His classmates voted him the top ROTC cadet leadership award in his senior year, he was a Distinguished Military Graduate, and he was commissioned a second lieutenant in Armor. He holds a masters-level degree in operations planning from the US Army Command & Staff College. He flew over 3,000 helicopter flights as either pilot or co-pilot/gunner in the United States, Germany, and Arabia during his career. He received an early promotion to lieutenant colonel as a result of his talented service.

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  • Lessons Learned From Friendly Fire