Ronnie G. Leonard
Ron Leonard: 25th Aviation Battalion 2002 Reunion
Click on banner to Visit the websiteRon was born in Berkeley California on May 23, 1946 and was raised in the bay area until 6th grade when his family moved to Tigard Oregon. He attended David Douglas High School, and Portland State University where he majored in engineering. He now resides in Lakeland, Florida and has 11 grand-children.
Always the littlest guy in school, Ron had to “get tough or die.” His physical stature was perfect to be a jockey, and his love of horses made it the logical thing to do. He figured that he could be an engineer anytime. He spent many years riding in Oregon, Washington, Canada, and Montana where he had good success and won lots of races but very few of the high profile ones.
Drafted into the Army in August of 1967, Ron underwent basic training at Ft Polk Louisiana, before going on to Ft. Rucker for AIT. He was sent to Vietnam March 7, 1968 and was in-country for 13 months before being DEROSed on April 8, 1969. He called his time in Vietnam, his “tropical vacation”.
Ron was assigned to B. Co. 25th Aviation Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, Cu Chi, Vietnam. While there, he met many men, and they are the reason he maintains the 25th Aviation Battalion’s Website. He states, “I have a bad case of PTSD, and this is my therapy. It forces me to look the beast in the eye and kill it.”
While in Vietnam, he logged over 1000 combat hours in gunships and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, an Air Medal with 30 clusters or so, an Arcom, a Purple Heart, and nightmares. He was shot down twice, and had a midair collision with a Cobra and walked away. He muses: “To this day, I don’t understand why anyone involved in that incident is alive.”
Ron makes the observation: “I wouldn’t do it again for a million dollars, but then I wouldn’t take a million dollars for what I learned about myself, and mankind as a whole.”