MAJOR, UNITED STATES ARMY
Ron Lowrance is the son of Dean Lowrance and Carrol Lowrance and was born in Lebanon, Missouri in 1948. Ron spent his early childhood in Lebanon, Missouri. Ron’s family later moved to Waynesville near the military installation of Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he graduated high school. Ron graduated from the United States Army Infantry Officer Candidate School and received a commission in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer, February of 1970.
Ron began his military experience on April 2, 1969 when he was drafted into military service and assigned to a basic training unit to receive initial evaluation and basic recruit training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. During the initial induction period, PVT Lowrance underwent a series of experience and intellectual testing. His test scores and evaluation qualified him for further testing and qualification for Officer Candidate School. PVT Lowrance successfully completed all testing and was sent before an Officer’s Review Board and was subsequently accepted to attend Infantry Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
During basic training PVT Lowrance received a temporary promotion to “Acting Corporal” leading a squad of basic training recruits. Upon completion of basic training, PVT Lowrance was reassigned to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Advanced Individual Training in radio/telephone communications. During his initial skill qualification testing, PVT Lowrance took and passed all introductory and qualification testing and was immediately assigned as an Assistant Instructor during his training assignment.
At the end of August 1969, PVT Lowrance received orders to be transferred to The Infantry School, Ft. Benning, Georgia, to enter a 23-week officer-training program at the Infantry Officer Candidate School. PVT Lowrance was immediately promoted to paygrade of SP5 while attending OCS. SP5 Lowrance successfully completed OCS and was commissioned as 2LT Infantry Officer in the United States Army on February 19, 1970. 2LT Lowrance was selected at graduation as one of five graduates to remain as OCS TACTICAL (TAC) Officers in the OCS Infantry Training Brigade. His responsibilities included mentoring, guiding, training, evaluating, counseling Officer Candidates. In addition to these responsibilities, 2LT Lowrance participated as a member of the board of selection for Infantry Officer Candidates.
In November of 1970 2LT Lowrance received orders for Vietnam. On December 30, 1970 2LT Lowrance married Anne C. Wilson, the daughter of Major James and Mrs. Anne C. Wilson, Columbus, Georgia. (Anne’s father, Major Wilson, served with the 82nd ABN DIV in WWII, was a wounded in combat veteran and was captured on D-Day at Normandy as a POW).
Prior to going to Vietnam, 2LT Lowrance was transferred to Panama to attend Jungle Warfare School in preparation for combat duty in Vietnam. 2LT Lowrance successfully completed jungle training and was one of 10 officers in a class of over 100 to qualify and receive Jungle Expert certification.
In January 1971, 2LT Lowrance arrived at BenHoa Vietnam for assignment to an Infantry Unit. 2LT Lowrance was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (AMBL), 2nd Brigade, headquartered at PhuBai, Vietnam. 2LT Lowrance’s unit assignment was to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, Company B, 1st Platoon. His first assignment was as an Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader assigned to combat operations I COPRS. In his first combat mission, 2LT Lowrance combat air-assaulted into a hostile "hot" landing zone (LZ).
In February of 1971, 2LT Lowrance was promoted to First Lieutenant (1LT). 1LT Lowrance served his tour of duty with the 101st Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade, 1/501st Infantry Regiment, as an Infantry Platoon leader in Company D, in ground combat operations up until 30 days prior to his reassignment back to the United States. During his tour of duty in the Vietnam War, he participated in two major campaigns, which included the invasion of Laos classified as Lam Son 719, January 30 through April 6, 1971. During this period, he served as a ground commander of an Infantry Rifle Platoon near the DMZ and Laotian borders, participating in ground combat missions receiving the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, and Air Medal for his actions and participation during this combat mission.
Operation Lam Son 719 was an operation conducted by South Vietnamese ground forces of approximately 17,000 soldiers which launched an attack on an estimated 22,000 NVA soldiers just inside Laos, in an attempt to sever the Ho Chi Minh trail. Aided by heavy U.S. military artillery, air strikes, American helicopter lifts, and American ground combat soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, the South Vietnamese troops advanced to their first objective. The South Vietnamese attack was stalled allowing the NVA time to bring in massive troop reinforcements. By battle's end, an estimated 40,000 NVA pursued 8,000 South Vietnamese survivors back across the border. The South Vietnamese suffered 7,682 casualties, nearly half the original force. The U.S military suffered 215 killed, over 100 helicopters lost, and over 600 damaged while supporting the offensive. NVA losses are estimated up to 20,000 as a result of the ground offensive and intense American bombardment.
The mission of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne was to conduct a combination offensive and defensive operations while maintaining a blocking force during the attack. 1LT Lowrance was assigned the mission of search and destroy. Their area of operation was west of the "Rock Pile" along and northwest of "Razor-Back" ridge in the extreme northwest quadrant of South Vietnam near the Laotian boarder and near the DMZ.
The 1/501st Infantry staging area for Lam Son 719 was Marine Base Alpha 1 at the DMZ where highway 1 ran into the DMZ and on into North Vietnam. During this very brief stay the base came under several attacks by enemy mortar fire. It was during this time the initial air assault was launched by B-52 strikes and Naval guns just off the coast of South Vietnam. The 1/501st was given the order to move into position and 1LT Lowrance's platoon was immediately assigned his mission and area of operation. Within 48 hours of moving into their assigned area of operation, his platoon discovered a large weapon and munitions cache along a small river. This was one of the largest cache' to be discovered. In addition, 1LT Lowrance's platoon was one of the first platoon size elements to engage enemy NVA ground troops during this operation.
When Lam Son 719 mission ended 1LT Lowrance’s unit was assigned their next mission at Da Nang providing security for the Marines as they rotated out of the area. 1LT Lowrance served the remaining time in Vietnam in various offensive and defensive missions within the area of operation in northern South Vietnam.
Just prior to rotation back to the United States, 1LT Lowrance was assigned to 2nd Brigade Headquarters for a thirty-day period as the Assistant Base Defense Commander for the PhuBai military installation. He was responsible for night perimeter defense and security for the entire military base.
1LT Lowrance returned to the United States (CONUS) at the end of October, 1971. The entry point into the USA was at Fort Lewis, Washington where he elected to leave active duty service and transfer into the US Army Reserve System. His first assignment was to a Reserve Basic Training Battalion at Washington, Missouri as a Company Executive Officer (XO). Due to relocating to the State of Georgia for civilian employment opportunity and the lack of reserve assignment opportunity in Georgia at that time, 1LT Lowrance was transferred into the Inactive Reserve System where he remained for a period of over two years. He subsequently elected to be honorably discharged from military service.
In 1986 Ron decided to seek out an opportunity to return to military service within the U.S. Army Reserve System. An opportunity became available in a mechanized Infantry Brigade. He was selected and approved to return to military reserve duty with the rank of Captain. While assigned to the Infantry Brigade, CPT Lowrance held military positions as a Mechanized Infantry Company Commander and Brigade Electronic Warfare (EW) Officer. While Commanding Officer of a Bradley Mechanized Infantry Company, his unit was recognized two years running as the best operational and tactical performing company within the battalion. In addition, the Brigade Sergeant Major individually recognized CPT Lowrance with a medallion for the best NCO and enlisted relations within the Infantry Brigade. This award had never been given to an officer within the brigade before. CPT Lowrance was honored as being the first to ever receive this recognition and the last since to receive this award. While assigned in the position of Brigade EW officer, CPT Lowrance attended and graduated from the Electronic Warfare Staff course, US Army Intelligence School, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.
In November of 1990, CPT Lowrance was selected for promotion to the military field grade rank of Major. It was the same month that he was transferred into active military service for Desert Shield/Desert Storm operations in Saudi Arabia.
Major Lowrance was assigned in November 1990 to a Task Force Commander position responsible for a Rear Area Operations Control unit with the 7th CORPS. Major Lowrance’s responsibilities were to travel throughout the 7th CORPS area of operation; locating, tracking, and reporting all 7th CORPS combat units to CORPS headquarter command and control facility. In addition, Major Lowrance’s unit had secondary responsibilities to review and critique unit defensive positions, provide defensive position guidance and base defense training as appropriate to those units. While working with an Infantry Brigade, the Commander recognized Major Lowrance’s unit for dedication, personnel relations, defensive tactical knowledge, and overall assistance in preparing the Brigade for Desert Storm operations.
Major Lowrance returned to the United States (CONUS) in May of 1991 and was reassigned to the Inactive Reserve System. In June of 1996 Major Lowrance was notified by the promotion board to submit his promotion package for selection to Lieutenant Colonel. Major Lowrance decided instead to submit paper work for retirement. Major Lowrance was notified in September of 1996 that his request for retirement was granted and he was subsequently issued orders and certification for retirement effective September 30, 1996.
Major Lowrance has received numerous awards, decorations, and commendations while serving in the United States Army. The document following this biography outlines Major Lowrance’s awards, decorations, and commendations, along with other professional information.