Our Son. Our Hero. ET1 Ronald J. Hemenway.

Tags: HeroStories

Our son, ET1 Ronald J. Hemenway was born 7-25-1964 in Cordova, Alaska.  (Ronald was born one year after we lost our son, Dale.  Dale died on July 29, 1963)   We lived in

Alaska for over 20 years.  When Ronald was school age we moved to

Wasilla, Alaska.  Ronald graduated from Wasilla High School in 1982 and

Sarah (Heath) Palin was in the same class!  (at that time no one knew

she would later be picked to run as Vice-President)  He then attended

University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska where he studied Chemistry and


We moved to Kansas when Ronald was 22.  He went on to school at Meridith

Manor Equestrian School in West Virginia to learn breeding of horses and

riding skills.  He returned to Kansas and by that time had acquired two

horses.  He  went to  Montana to train with  Monty  Foreman.   He also

went to  the Oklahoma School for horse shoeing.

At 30 years old Ronald left me a note telling me he was going to find a

job with a career.  That night he returned home for supper and told us

he had joined the Navy.  At first we didn't think he was serious.  (His

dad had served in the Air Force and other family members had been in the

Army.)  The more he talked, we started to believe him.  He left on his

brother's birthday, November 29th, 1994.  After basic training he went

to Electronics School in Chicago.  He was Distinguished Military

Graduate and had his choice of assignments.  He chose the USS La Salle

in Gaeta, Italy.  He left for Italy on his other brother's birthday, May

28, 1966.  I teased him and told him he would meet and Italian girl and

get married.  He did!  He married at 33 years old.  In 2000 there became

an opening at the Pentagon, Ronald told us he was going to put in for

the opening.  He told me "I probably won't get it, but if I do I will be

closer to Kansas and home every night with my son."  Ronald was a "Hands

on Dad."  He did get the assignment and in March of 2000 they moved to

Bolling Air Force Base in DC area.

I feel so fortunate to have memories of when we spent two weeks in Italy

with him and also we went to DC in June 2000.  Ronald was so proud of

the Pentagon.  He gave us a tour and showed his father the Air Force

area of the Pentagon.  His dad had also been in electronics in the Air

Force.  After, Ronald joined the Navy, he and his dad would "Talk

Shop."  They developed a relationship they had never had-it was

something that gave them a bond.   They had been on the phone the

evening of 9-10-01 and talked past midnight.  Ronald's wife would ask

"How can you talk so long to your dad?".

Then 9-11 happened.  Ronald worked for the Chief of Naval Operations.

There were never any remains found.  I can still hear Ronald asking me

after the '93 attack on the twin towers. "Why aren't we doing

something?"  Then again when the embassies were bombed and when the

marine barracks were hit and when the USS Cole got hit.   My only

response was "I don't know Ronald, I guess not enough people have gotten

killed."  Now we do have a president who Ronald would be proud of

because he chose to do something.  We may not agree with everything he

has done;  and he has made mistakes.  If doing nothing means no

mistakes, then I am glad he went on the side of doing something and

making mistakes because we have not suffered the loss I/we suffered on

9-11 again in seven years.

Thank you for letting me share some of my memories of my sons.  All I

can say is "It is out of order to have your child die before you do."

They should be attending your funeral.

God bless you for all you do.  God bless our troops and President Bush

for defending our country and keeping us safe during these seven years!

Shirley Hemenway

Proud Mother of ET1 Ronald J. Hemen