SMITHFIELD, Ohio (WTRF) – For some veterans, their service lasts only one tour of duty. For others, they plan to make the military their career. That was the case for Ronald Pasco.
He enlisted in the Army and said he never had an intention of getting out.
I ended up staying 26 years, 6 months and 2 days.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran
Ronald Pasco joined the Army right after high school because he said at the time there were no jobs in the Ohio Valley.
Went to Fort Knox, Kentucky and I called my Dad and let him know where I was at and he says ‘what you doing in Fort Knox, Kentucky?’ And I said ’20 years’.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran
He went though basic training at Fort Knox and advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood to become a combat engineer. Then Pasco was stationed first in Wildflecken, Germany.
It was probably the worst place in the world to ever be stationed I thought. Then I got assigned to Vietnam.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran
Pasco was deployed to Vietnam twice. The first in 1966 and then again in 1969. Each time spending a year in combat.
That’s two years of my life that I’d like to forget about. There was nothing pretty over there. I just did my best to take those two years out of my life.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran
He said it’s a part of his life he can’t talk about, but Pasco was awarded several medals for his service, including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service, and Army Commendation medals.
I’m very proud of what I done.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran
After Vietnam, Pasco was stationed several places, but spend most of his time in Germany. He was stationed in Heilbronn and Hanau as he continued to rise through the ranks to First Sergeant.
I trained my soldiers to survive the next battle and I trained them all the time. I mean, there was times that my troops would come to me and say ‘well Sergeant Pasco why do we have to go out and train? There’s guys sitting in the snack bar?’. And I would say ‘because I want you to survive the next battle’. You gotta treat them the way you wanted to be treated when you was a private you know. Treat them as men and they’ll conduct themselves as men.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran
Pasco has fond memories of living on and around the bases with his family, training his men, and also enjoying other adventures with them. He remembers going skiing, mountain climbing and white water rafting in the Alps.
After 26 years of service he retired, but his experience as a combat veteran nearly called him back.
July of 1990 I submitted my retirement. August 2nd the unit got notified they were going to be deployed to Kuwait, so I went to submit a letter to D.A. to have them cancel my retirement so I could go to Kuwait with the unit, and the Department of the Army sent me back a letter saying that my retirement was approved and I was going home.Ronald Pasco, U.S. Army Veteran