Ron Kruse was given the Leonard Sweed Nelson Shipmate of the Year award from the Fleet Reserve Association last month. Ron is a Carson Valley resident who retired from the U.S. Navy after 21 years of service.
Ron has such an interesting military career I am not sure even where to begin. He served our country from 1952 through 1973. He was in at the end of the Korean War and through the entire Vietnam War. His specialty was on the flight deck of the aircraft carriers launching and landing airplanes, and putting out fires when they didn't land right.
Recently the Discovery Channel aired a 30-minute special on the USS George Washington about plane crashes and firefighting. That is the aircraft carrier my son is on and they had the biggest fire on a carrier in the Navy's history off the coast of South America in May this year so while Ron was speaking with me, I was all ears.
Ron succeeded to the rank of master chief after his 21-year career. When I asked what the highlight of his career was, he said teaching survival and resisting training to the Air Dales. They were the ones in harms way as they would get shot down over Vietnam. He taught them how to survive in the jungle, how they could survive, find food, shelter and most of all, how to tolerate torture. Ron also was a debriefer of the POWs from 1968 to 1972 and actually debriefed John McCain when he was released.
The USS Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans. There were about 90 sailors aboard. Luckily for us, they didn't know what a find they had and they could have captured our communications information. America was able to change their operations systems so it didn't end up being a threat to our nation's security.
Ron was married to his wife Elaine for 52 years when she died of a diabetes-related illness in 2006. He is proud of his daughter Laurel Arett who lives in the Stephanie Way area. She was a radioman third class and a Spanish interpreter for the U.S. Navy. Their son manages a large apartment complex in Carson City.
If you are retired Navy, Marine or Coast Guard, the Fleet Reserve would like your enrollment. There are 350,000 veteran members in Nevada and the more enrollments they have the bigger voice they have with the Legislature. We have the largest veteran population per capita in the United States. Call Ron at 267-3132 for more information.
n Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident and can be reached at 267-9350.