Editor of R-C sister paper headed to Afghanistan
In 28 years service with the U.S. Army, National Guard and Army Reserve, Lahontan Valley News Editor Steve Ranson never deployed to a war zone before he retired two years ago.
He served short tours to the Republic of Korea, Panama and South America in addition to being assigned to the public affairs office at Ft. Jackson, S.C. Locally, he covered Nevada’s units during their annual training and state emergencies.
Now, Ranson has the opportunity to travel to a war zone, but this time as a civilian journalist when he leaves the country on Thursday to report on the military for newspapers in the Sierra Nevada Media Group to include the Nevada Appeal, The Record Courier, the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the Sierra Sun and the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
Ranson will keep a diary, and he hopes to post through Facebook the major events of the trip. When he returns to Nevada, Ranson will write stories for the SNMG newspapers and for the Las Vegas Review Journal, which is also interested in the Las Vegas soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
“I’m excited because I want the community to able to feel they are there with our sailors and soldiers and know what they are doing – the reality that goes on there,” said LVN General Manager Shannon Burns.
Ranson will spend almost three weeks overseas, first spending time at the Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain. While there he will compile stories to show how the training aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis correlates to the training pilots and their crews receive at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Naval Air Station Fallon.
He is also scheduled to meet with Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox, former commander of NSAWC. To prepare for his trip to Bahrain, Ranson spent hours speaking with Rear Adm. John Miller, who recently relinquished command of NSAWC for a new assignment.
“It’s important for residents not only in Fallon but across the state to know the role of NSAWC and how the training in Fallon has worldwide implications,” said Ranson, who has been LVN editor for almost four years.
From Bahrain, Ranson flies to Kabul and then to Kandahar to embed with the Nevada Army National Guard’s 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion which requested Ranson to embed with the Nevada battalion. Ranson covered the signal battalion extensively during his career.
Readers in the region will get an unusually personal perspective from Ranson’s reporting, said Dennis Noone, editor of the Nevada Appeal, a sister paper of the LVN.
“Steve’s stories will be of special interest to our readers because he’s going to talk with Nevada servicemen and servicewomen who’ve put themselves in harm’s way,” Noone said. “These are the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of Northern Nevadans. We’re very much looking forward to showcasing our region’s troops and the job they’re doing in one of the world’s hot spots.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval, who visited the 422nd on a tour of the area, also spent time with Ranson and gave him some story ideas based on what he saw.
Near the end of his trip, Ranson will work his way to Kabul and to Parwan Province to spend a day with the 485th Military Police Co., which recently arrived in country. The MPs formerly drilled in Fallon for almost two years before their reassignment to the Washoe County Armory north of Reno in 2009. The unit’s first sergeant is also from Fallon.
During his last 10 years in the Nevada Army National Guard, Ranson served as public affairs officer and editor of the Battle Born newspaper before it transitioned to a magazine.
“We hope to see through Steve, who is an experienced military journalist, what our servicemen and women do,” said Burns.