Ed Ramsey never aspired to be a hero. He was only 12 years old when his father committed suicide. He was a natural-born hell-raiser; bootleg whiskey and fighting were his passions. His mother thought the Oklahoma Military Academy might salvage him. He loved horses and all things martial. The academy had both.
Ramsey thrived at OMA, becoming a bold and daring rider. He and his horse performed stunts that could have earned him a part in a Western. He also became enamored with the history and romance of the U.S. cavalry. By his second year at the academy, he was playing on the polo team—excellent training for swinging a saber or shooting a pistol from horseback.
In 1938, Ramsey was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army reserve and admitted to law school at the University of Oklahoma. He studied enough to earn passing grades but spent most of his time “playing polo and chasing women.” When his older sister was severely injured and nearly died, Ramsey dropped out of school to nurse her back to health.
With war now looming, instead of returning to law school, Ramsey applied for active duty. He quickly found himself posted to the 11th Cavalry Regiment in the mountains above San Diego. With riding breeches, high boots, and a campaign cover tilted at a rakish angle with leather chinstrap, Ramsey thought of himself as a Tyrone...