Ronald D. Vraa
Ronald D. Vraa, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret), 77, of Mansfield, Texas, passed away on July 17, 2021. Born in Fargo, ND, Ron graduated from FCHS in 1961 and NDSU in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and National Defense University. He received his Master’s Degree in Adult Education from George Washington University in 1986.
Ron entered the Air Force in 1966 and earned his commission and wings at Vance Air Force Base in 1967. He was a dedicated USAF fighter pilot flying the F-4, A-7D and F-16. He served three combat tours during the Vietnam conflict where he flew 192 combat missions. As a combat pilot with more than 2900 hours, his military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with 16 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. He was selected as outstanding student at USAF Fighter Weapons School and was the Squadron Commander of the 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying F-16 fighters at Kunsan, Korea. In addition to numerous flying assignments, Ron also held staff positions at various commands. He retired from the Air Force after 20-plus years.
After leaving the military, Ron was employed with Link Flight Simulation and Training to provide operational expertise to the development of fighter simulators. Ron functioned in many different roles within the organization, closing out a 23-year career as a Program Engineering Manager, overseeing engineering performance in multiple programs.
He is survived by his wife, Dianne, their three children and two granddaughters.