RIVERDALE — A Utah veteran has joined the ranks of people like Chuck Yeager and Buzz Aldrin. His portrait now hangs at the Pentagon as part of a tribute to some extraordinary patriots.
The Pioneers in Blue is an Air Force award that honors veterans who have blazed a trail for others to follow. Bob Ramos, of Riverdale, found out earlier this year that he, along with 38 other pioneers, would have his portrait displayed at the Pentagon.
"This is quite an honor for me," Ramos said Tuesday. "(I) got that feeling of pride, then of course the emotion thing sets in."
At just 19 years old, Ramos was drafted into World War II. He was trained as an Army medic, but after the Battle of the Bulge all of that changed.
"They took me out of that, gave me a rifle, and I got assigned to the 86th Infantry," Ramos said.
"'Pioneers in Blue' showcases both famous heroes and current Airmen who help support today's Air Force. Veterans old and new have helped shape our Air Force and we would like to chronicle their experiences and lessons learned. ...
The Airmen highlighted are diverse, from pilots, Tuskegee Airmen, combat controllers, security forces, or television and radio broadcasters who aided in making the Air Force what it is today--the best in the world. Through the Pioneers in Blue project, these service members share their personal stories of how the Air Force has made a difference in their lives. These stories supported in operations from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Portraits will be displayed in the Pentagon 5th floor.
Source:Pioneers in Blue
After the war, he left the military for school, and then found himself back in the service for the Korean War. That's when he took the opportunity to join a new branch of the military: the Air Force.
"The experience is there, all you got to do is seek it and get involved," Ramos said.
It's experience, which for Ramos continued through the Vietnam War. He said the greatest lessons the military taught him are the importance of service and teamwork.
"When you go into fighting combat, and so forth, you look out for each other, help each other," Ramos said.
Today, he continues that spirit of services, mainly helping veterans both young and old.
"The work is never done," Ramos said. "It's just constant, it's there every day. People in general don't see that."
Ramos spends a lot of his time nowadays volunteering at the Veterans Pharmacy at Hill Air Force Base.
As for Pioneers in Blue, the award is now in its second year. The Air Force is currently looking for more veterans to honor, hoping to make it an annual event.