RIVERDALE — A Utah veteran has joined the ranks of people like Chuck Yeager and Buzz Aldrin. Bob Ramos' 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 famous heroes and current airmen who help support today's Air Force. The veterans, old and young, have blazed a trail for others to follow. 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.
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 now volunteering at the Veterans Pharmacy at Hill Air Force Base.
Also honored was Anthony Preston, a 24-year veteran of the Air Force who now works as a civilian unit training manager and acquisition development management analyst at Hill Air Force Base.
He enlisted in 1982 as a security police entry controller. His most memorable moments to date while serving in the military were his award as a Security Forces Airman of the Year and being able to give back to his country.
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.