Underhill serves in Army branch
Have you ever wondered what it is like being in the military? Loris Ronald (Ron) Underhill is a hero to us because he served our country in the Army. He has been through a lot in his years, and we admire him for that.
Ron Underhill was born December 31, 1938, in a two-bed hospital in Simpson, Kansas. When he was born, he was named after his father. He was raised with four older sisters, with the youngest being nine years older than him. Ron grew up on a farm near Simpson that did not have electricity or running water until he was eleven. Life growing up on the farm was tough for him because money was tight. During this time Ron played sports such as basketball and football to keep himself occupied. Later Ron graduated from high school in Simpson as valedictorian of his class. Ron knew he would not be able to afford college, so he went straight into the military when he was seventeen years old.
When Ron enlisted in the military, he signed up with his best friend, Wes Carlton. Wes was a year older than him, but they still joined at the same time. Wes and Ron were separated in the Army and sent to different places, but they still stayed in contact with one another. Ron has seen his friend Wes several times since then at high school reunions and other events.
Ron Underhill received his military training at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was trained for dial telephone central office repair as he requested. He wrote and received letters from his family at this time. He then completed his advanced training at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and it lasted between four to five months. In his free time, Ron did not do much of anything during his training other than catch up on sleep.
During Ron’s training he joined the Bugle Drum and Corp, so he did not have to do kitchen patrol. He also thought the food was edible but not the best and said it tasted like school food. The hours of training were 7:00 A.M. - 4:30 p.m for him. The uniforms were khaki pants with a nice green shirt. They stayed in old barracks. According to Ron, “Training was nothing special.”
After Ron’s basic training, he was stationed in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Ron replied that his favorite place was New Jersey though because that is where he met his wife Ginny. His job was to repair central office equipment. He enjoyed it because he was the boss, and he liked being the boss. He did state that he did not enjoy the “stupid” noise on the phone that went “Click, Click”.
Ron went through some adversity during his training and was granted leave a few times. One time he was planning to get married during his time away, but his leave got canceled. Luckily, it worked out and he still got married. During his training, he also attended several USO shows and dances. When training was over, he said he was ready to leave.
After Ron’s marriage to his wife Ginny, Ron was shipped to Korea in August 1957, where he served until December 1958. He was then returned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he served as a specialist fifth class until his release from the service in May 1959.
When Ron was discharged, he and his wife bought a car, and they moved to California. He first became a dance instructor. Then he worked for a tile company. Later he drove a truck for an ice cream company. After that job he was a correctional officer for a year at the California Institute for Men (a state prison). Then he became a police officer for the city of Claremont, California, for five years. Next, he worked as a deputy sheriff for San Bernardino County for a year. Then with his wife and their four young children, he moved back to Kansas in 1971. While in Kansas he and his family farmed and started their own construction company, which he continued until his retirement in 2000.
Overall, Ron has been through a lot and has lived a remarkable life. It takes a true hero to risk his life to serve his country. We want to thank Ron for his service. It has been a true honor working with him to complete this project.