Veteran of the Month: Ron Shuman

Courtesy photo Ron Shuman

Courtesy photo
Ron Shuman

By Saline Eagle Staff

Ron Shuman was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to St. Clair Shores when he was in the sixth grade. While he was a Senior at Lakeview High School, he was contacted by the Army to see if he was interested in joining their ROTC program. They would pay for his tuition and books while he attended the University of Michigan to obtain his Engineering degree. In addition, he would have to attend a six week Summer Camp training program. Upon graduation he would be commissioned and then serve 4 years of active duty as an officer. While attending U-M, he attended a new program the Army had initiated where cadets could attend Airborne School. He and the other five cadets were given the unofficial rank of third lieutenant. They lead physical training and training jumps. Upon completion of the program they received their Airborne wings and became, as Ron stated, “Airborne – All the Way”. Following the training he attended the Summer Camp where he excelled due to his improved physical condition, increased self-confidence and leadership skills. In 1973 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.
After graduation and receiving their commission, cadets are allowed to select their branch assignments. This is based on their GPA, ROTC class scores and Summer Camp training scores. Due to his high total score Ron was able to select his first choice, the Signal Corps. He attended Signal Officers Basic Course at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He subsequently attended Communications and Electronics Staff Officers Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Upon completion of his training he was sent to Kaiserslautern, Germany as a Platoon Leader, Radio Relay Platoon, A Company, 11th Signal Battalion. As Platoon Leader, he was in charge of 84 people and provided communications support to the 32nd Army Air Defense tasked to provide air defense against Soviet aircraft if an attack came over the border as this was during the Cold War. They also provided communications for the 94th Air Defense Artillery Group that mounted Hawk and Nike Hercules missiles. The Hercules could be fitted with nuclear warheads which raised the communications requirement to a critical 24/7 mission with high stress levels. During this time Ron was promoted to First Lieutenant.
Ron was transferred to 94th ADA Headquarters where he was Assistant to the Group Signal Officer, Headquarters Company Communications Platoon Leader, Commander of Group Communications Center and Executive Officer for Headquarters Company. In addition to those duties he was Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense Officer, Pay Officer, Demolitions Specialist and Shooting Range Safety Officer. While at Headquarters, Ron was promoted to Captain.
Ron extended his tour of duty for an additional nine months in order to take a “European Out”. At the end of his tour he received a “Return to the World” airline ticket he could use any time during the next 12 months. Therefore, he took five months to tour Europe by train with backpack, tent and bedroll until he ran out of money and returned to the States.
Ron states, “I am glad to have served my country, even though it was at a time when military service was abhorred by many of my contemporaries. The atmosphere for returning veterans at that time was much different than it is now. We did not advertise the fact of our service because it was looked on with ambivalence or animosity by many. It was an experience we lived through, learned from and then moved beyond but never forgot. I know I was forever changed by my military experience, but I would not have the life I have today without it.”
When asked what advice he would give to young people contemplating military service, Ron stated that the military is different than college and suggests joining the service first and then going to college in order to obtain an education after they have gained maturity, discipline and self-discipline in the service.
He also states that the Air Force and Navy tend to provide job skills that are more transferrable to civilian life. Mainly, he advises them to be very clear on what is going to be required of them. Be sure what you are getting into.
Ron lives in Saline with his wife, Barbara. They have three children, Michael, Lori and Christopher as well as six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. They enjoy spending time with their family.
We thank Ron for his willingness to serve his country and help preserve the freedoms that we enjoy.

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