Ralph Edward Haines was born on August 4, 1883 in Vinton, Iowa as one of three sons. In 1886, he moved to California with his family. In 1907, after graduating from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, he worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for two years. In 1910, Ralph Edward Haines received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps (C.A.C.). After completing a course of instruction at Fort Monroe, Virginia, he was assigned to the 45th Company, C.A.C. in Fort Galveston, Texas and sent to the Mexican Border in 1911.
In 1916, Haines graduated with honors from the Coast Artillery School at Fort Monroe and was sent to the Philippines where he worked in Harbor Defenses until 1919. After returning to Fort Monroe as an instructor, he attended advanced courses at the same school as a student, immediately enrolling in the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas after the course's completion.
After graduating in 1924, Haines was assigned to the Harbor Defenses of San Francisco where he served as Executive Officer of the 6th Coast Artillery until 1926. He continued his education at the Army War College in Washington, D.C. He graduated in 1927 and took a position with the General Staff at Headquarters, 8th Corps Area, Fort Sam Houston, Texas as War Plans Officer until 1931.
In January of 1941, Haines was promoted to the rank of temporary Brigadier General and placed in command of the 70th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft). In September of 1942, Haines returned to San Francisco in command of the Harbor Defenses at Fort Winfield Scott. Then, in January of 1943, he was also designated Assistant Sector Command of Northern California Sector of the Western Defense Command which then became his sole responsibility after he was relieved from his Harbor Defenses command. He retired from active duty in July 1945.
He married Ethel Lyman, with whom he had two sons: Ralph E. Haines, Jr., born in 1913 and John Lyman Haines, born in 1917. Ralph E. Haines, Jr. attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and joined the Armored Services. He rose to the rank of General and eventually commanded the Continental Army Command at Fort Monroe in 1972. John Lyman Haines attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis and served as an officer in the Submarine Service. Haines, Sr.'s brothers offer further evidence of an impressive family line: Brigadier General Oliver Lincoln Haines had an equally illustrious military career and Charles C. Haines was a Superior Court Judge in San Diego.
The collection was donated to the Presidio Army Museum over a period of months in 1976 by General Ralph E. Haines, Jr. The expansive collection is remarkably complete, with artifacts ranging from the General's Army-issued socks to his overcoats and all Army accessories in between—rulers, canteens, swagger sticks, sunglasses, etc.
For more information:
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco
Fort Winfield Scott
Last updated: February 28, 2015