Colonel John A. Ulrich was born in Oregon in 1912 and completed his undergraduate training in engineering at Stanford University in 1933.
Called to active duty as a second lieutenant of Ordnance in August 1941, he served during World War II as a maintenance officer with the 41st Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, and later with Ordnance units in the South Pacific. During the Korean Conflict, he made major improvements in logistical support and ammunition resupply. He was the first Commander of the Diamond Ordnance Fuze Laboratory, where he was responsible for numerous advances in research and development and production management. Fuzes for bombs, rockets, and mortars were developed, standardized, and produced as a result of his leadership. In 1961, he was appointed Project Manager for Selected Ammunition by the Chief of Ordnance. Subsequent to the reorganization of the Department of the Army in 1963, he became the Army Materiel Command Project Manager for Selected Ammunition. Many new types of fuzes, projectiles, warheads, cartridges, and cluster bomb units for a variety of weapons were developed during his tenure.
Following his retirement from the Army in 1964, Colonel Ulrich distinguished himself in private industry, first with the Martin Marietta Corporation and later the Chamberlain Corporation. Colonel Ulrich died in 1990.